Guide old girl

Guide old girl

Evergreen Anne Gilbert, who recently turned 100, is leading the field – as Britain’s oldest Girl Guide.

The tireless great-gran became one of the first-ever Brownies at the age of eight and has spent her entire life with the Guide movement.

She was a Brown Owl until the age of 65 when she gave up her uniform, but remained a helper with the Brownies for another 20 years.

And despite her age, independent Anne has spent the last 15 years as a volunteer with the veterans’ Trefoil Guild.

Anne, a mother-of-four who still lives alone, says she is just as passionate about the Guide movement today as she was 92 years ago when she became a Brownie.

She said: “The Guides has been part of my life, all the way through.

“I don’t feel any different; I’m still doing things for myself.

“Everyone should join, everyone can do it if they join and get going because it will make a difference.

“It teaches people independence and it is great fun.

“Children of today are missing out. They don’t get outdoor activities like we did.

“When I was younger, we did things, we worked. If I had an afternoon off school I had to wash the windows.

“Now people seem to take it easy, as long as they have a computer in front of them.

“People should still get involved with the Guides because it is an excellent organisation.”

Through guiding Anne has visited Mexico and Switzerland and still meets with the Trefoil Guild Guiding for adults once a month.

oldest girl guide 2She can still remember the first camp she went on in 1926 and meeting in cellars because of the Blitz during World War Two.

The grandma-of-eight and great grandma-of-nine, from Sheffield, South Yorks., left school at 14 and ran her own haberdashery.

She puts her longevity down to hard work and being “on the go”.

She kept fit with tennis and swimming, but was last in a pool just three years ago. She now exercises with a weekly ‘chairobics’ session.

Her eldest daughter, Pat Kershaw, 68, said: “Mum is amazing. She has a carer do her lunch, but apart from that she is independent.

“Her brain is 100 per cent and she doesn’t forget anything.

“It is an amazing achievement. It’s not just that she’s managed to reach the age of 100 but she is in a wonderful state mentally and very positive.

“The Guides just fits with her attitude to life, because Guide members are positive, kind, love the outdoors and helping each other.

“Now she is in Trefoil and they do things like walking groups and choirs. It is a very active group with the same ethos as the Guides.

“She will stay involved with the movement for as long as she can.”

Anne’s son Jim, 73, a retired electrical engineer, has been a Scout leader for the past 55 years and, like his mum, shows no sign of stopping.

He said: “As far as we know mum is the oldest Guide in the country.

“I think kids today can have fun in the movement without causing any trouble, they can enjoy the outdoors and you can learn from the activities we do.”

Anne is also mum to sons John, 70 and Tony, 63. She has nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Her husband Wilf, who was a steelworker, died in 1972.