What a super evening! Literally ‘showcasing’ what is great about Girlguiding Norfolk.
There was chatter, food, info on the latest developments at the ARC plus the opportunity to comment on our new Girlguiding Norfolk website. Then into the conference theatre where we learned about what members of Norfolk have achieved this year including Hazel Farman’s inspiring talk on her experience at the World Scout Jamboree in Japan.
The evening ended with a presentation of awards and commendations. Good Service awards went to Lynn Rawlings, Rosemary Tooms, Christine Bramham, Catherine Morrey, Pat Whittaker and Melanie Carter; County Commissioner Commendations went to Janet Leeson and Abbe Beck and gifts of paperweights were presented to Sharon Watts, Linda Marquis, Sue Groves, Janet Milbank and Christine Cutting as a Thank You from the County.
Girlguiding Norfolk was also proud to present the highly prestigious ‘Guiding Star’ award to Annabelle Lessiter, a Guide with the 1st Acle Guide Unit as a reward for all her guiding achievements, even though she is blind. She first joined Girlguiding UK as a Rainbow aged five in Brundall. She had limited eyesight then but enough to see things close up and create crafts and pictures and decorate biscuits.
Although limited when playing games, all she wanted to do was have fun. Annabelle moved up to 1st Brundall Brownies at seven with her close friends who looked out for her. She even joined them all on an Activity Day at Hautbois House which included a canoeing session. The instructor towed Annabelle’s kayak behind hers and continually told her about what birds and other creatures were around. She thoroughly enjoyed herself and loved being splashed.
Annabelle is now a Guide with 1st Acle Guides and has been keen to try anything and everything. For example, on reaching the top of the climbing wall she was heard to say
I used to be frightened of heights but, now I can’t see, it doesn’t worry me anymore!” At the International Jamboree, Norjam, she went roller skating, took an active part in ‘It’s a Knockout,’ which involved water games, inflatable slides, and bungee runs.
She also went to The Big Gig for the first time and had a wonderful time.
Whatever Annabelle tackles, she does it with a sense of fun and a smile. She is inspirational to the Guides around her as she personifies many of the Guide Laws. Her own Patrol Leader frequently asks me, “How can she do that when she can’t see?” Annabelle has just been elected as Patrol Second, a role that she is taking very seriously but is entering into it energetically and enthusiastically, as she does all her guiding activities.
Annabelle is an amazing girl, busy filling her life with as many experiences as possible with the encouraging help and support of her family. Annabelle’s eyesight continues to deteriorate and along with other handicaps will continue to govern what and how many guiding activities she can take part in, but nothing seems to calm her determination.