Lifelong Welwyn Garden City Girl Guide heads for a new adventure
PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 October 2018
Welwyn Garden City’s most committed Girl Guide is heading off for new horizons on the Inner Hebrides.
Eighty-nine-year-old Joan Cobb, who has lived in Welwyn Garden City all her life, is moving with her son to the Hebridean island of Islay after 82 years as a linchpin of the local guiding movement.
Joan joined the Brownies in 1936 at the age of seven, when Welwyn Garden City was a much smaller place.
Across those 82 years, she’s been a Brownie, a Guide, a pack leader, a young leader advisor, and now is a member of the Trefoil Guild, the club for over-18 ex-guides to get together and support the movement.
Joan took over her own Brownie group at St Michael’s Church in 1948, and was the first in Welwyn Garden City to set up a group of Rainbows - the youngest age group in the movement.
She’s been a beacon for generations of guides over the years.
“I think the girls respect her a lot,” said her friend Christine Wright, describing how Joan stays involved by coming to events and being in touch with the girls and their leaders.
“A lot of people come to her for advice because she’s got so much experience. She’s an amazing lady and has a wicked sense of humour,” she added. “We’re going to miss her dreadfully.”
Born near Peartree, Joan was married in 1951 and has had numerous homes all over the town.
Over the years Joan has seen a lot of change - both in Welwyn Garden City, and in the guiding movement.
It has modernised over the years, including in 2013 when it famously dropped the reference to God in the Girl Guide promise.
Joan has had some reservations about some changes, but said overall: “I think it had to move with the times - that’s what it’s all about.
“The background movement is still the same. It’s got to deal with today’s children, hasn’t it,” she said.
“The children have changed - they’ve got much noisier! But they’re delightful. I absolutely love them.”
Asked what she will miss most about Welwyn Garden City, she immediately replied: “the people”.
“It’ll always be home.”
But she thinks Islay is a beautiful place - even though it’s quieter than Welwyn Garden City.
“It’s not behind the times in any way,” she said. “I shall get involved with the Trefoil Guild there. I’m very outgoing!”