A SCOUT group which kept photo albums and record books throughout its 75-year history has inspired a book telling its story.

The 3rd Parkstone Scout Group was set up in 1931 as the popularity of Scouting grew rapidly in Poole.

It lasted until 2006, when difficulties in finding volunteers to run the group led to its demise.

Scouting & Recollections: The 3rd Parkstone Scout Group was written by Chris Harris, who was involved in the group in the 1960s and has published several books about his specialist subject of local buses.

He used an archive of photos which will fascinate anyone interested in Scouting or Dorset of the past.

Lord Baden-Powell led the first Scout camp on Brownsea Island in 1907 and groups sprang up in Poole from 1908 onwards.

A branch of the 4th Poole Troop was inaugurated at Ashley Road Methodist Church in Parkstone and it became a separate troop, the 3rd Parkstone, in 1931.

Its home at the church was initially the Wesley Hall which had been built in 1923. Intended to be a temporary base, it lasted another 44 years.

The growing group was first led by brothers Arthur and Jack Cockram. The arrival of World War II saw leaders and senior Scouts called up to serve in the forces, while a number of Scouts worked as messengers on the home front.

“Meetings continued, sometimes under very difficult circumstances, but the older Scouts in particular did a sterling job in organising activities,” Mr Harris writes.

“An especially commendable achievement was the publication of a monthly newsletter to keep in touch with those members in the forces or engaged elsewhere on war work.”

The group went from strength to strength after the war, celebrating half a century of Scouting in 1957, while the Cubs marked their movement’s 50th anniversary in 1966.

The Scouts finally gained a purpose-built hall and youth centre behind the Ashley Road site, which opened on June 24, 1967.

Mr Harris describes the following years as the group’s “zenith”. By 1991, there were more than 100 boys across its Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Venture Scouts groups, and the group was the subject of a professionally produced film, Old Gold and Royal Blue.

But in the following years, the group became harder to run, with the loss of leaders to retirement and the pressures of work.

In 2004, the Scouts merged with the group of St Aldhelm’s in Branksome, and the Beaver colony transferred to nearby St Peter’s Church in 2005.

The Cubs group finally met for the last time on July 26, 2006, ending the Parkstone group’s 75-year history.

The 1967 Scout hall was demolished to make way for housing, and the Methodist Church itself was sold to become the Gateway Church. However, the two benches placed in front of the church by the Scouts in the 1980s are still there.

Meanwhile, a hassock made by the group to mark its 50th anniversary in 1981 is now in St Mary’s Church, Brownsea Island – at the place Scouting was born.

n Scouting & Recollections: The 3rd Parkstone Scout Group is published by the Nostalgia Collection and costs £6.

It is available at DJ Brooking, 420 Ashley Road, Parkstone.

n A reunion for members of 3rd Parkstone is held this Saturday, May 25, at the Liberal Club in Salisbury Road, Upper Parkstone, and the book will be on sale there.