Girlguiding Buckinghamshire’s Banners

Banners of Girlguiding Buckinghamshire

The Banners of Girlguiding Buckinghamshire

The history of the Banners can be traced back to the early 1920’s when permission was given for the Guide Association to make “Standards” or as they became known in Buckinghamshire as “Banners” after this term was used for the first Banner Service.

The first Banner was made in 1922 and was for 1st Chesham Rangers and is still in use today. The next Banner to be made was done so in secret and was presented to our first County Commissioner Mrs Evelyn Bernard in 1926. This Banner is now laid up, along with several others, in the archive collection due to their particularly delicate condition.

In late 1927 it was agreed: ‘to design and make District Standards’ for the annual competition for the County Shield. The object of this challenge was to encourage needlework and interest in local history. In 1928 the first Banner Service was held in Aylesbury Parish Church where 12 Banners were paraded to and from church and all were dedicated at this Service. This Service has continued every year until 2022, with the exception of several years during WWII and the years 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid pandemic.

From that first Service more Districts started making their own Banners, all of which are approved by the Heraldry Department at Guide HQ. They must each have the current Girlguiding Trefoil by the pole, the County emblem (which in our case is the Buckinghamshire Swan), the motto band (in most cases this is “Be Prepared”) and on the reverse is often the name of the District or Division. Then comes the ‘Fly’ on which symbols depicting the area they belong to are embroidered. The Banner has then been dedicated, usually at a Banner Service, carried at other Services or put on display at events. The second Buckinghamshire County Banner was made in 1946 and when this was showing signs of wear this Banner was laid up when the current one was brought into use in 1976.

To date Girlguiding Buckinghamshire has 7 Division Banners, 40 District Banners and 14 Banners which have been laid up due to age and fragility or the fact that geographical boundaries have changed and they are no longer in Buckinghamshire, or the Districts do not exist.

There are “Standards” held in other Counties and Regions but only Girlguiding Buckinghamshire can boast so many at District, Division level as well as a County Banner.

A review was undertaken from all Sections and areas of the County in 2019 to consider the relevance of the Banner Service to the current generation of members and to consider options for the future. The results of the review concluded that the current religious format and venue was inappropriate to current society expectations and rejected by many. An alternative celebratory event to show off our Banners and to highlight events and successes of the year, which would engage more with our membership, was proposed.

The last Banner Service was held in St Georges Church at RAF Halton when it is recorded that 54 Banners attended the event, albeit that this included a small number of ‘visiting’ Standards.

We are particularly proud of our Banners. They represent a belonging and members are encouraged to take ownership of this sense of family.

Thank you to Brian (Woody) Mulley for maintaining this history,

History of the County Banner - The First Banner

The first County Banner was dedicated at the first Buckinghamshire Banner Service in Aylesbury Parish Church in October 1928 by the Bishop of Buckingham. The Guide Trefoil (in an older version) representing the threefold Promise is nearest the pole and the second section depicts the Buckinghamshire County Swan emblem. The motto is “Bear and Forbear” as the more usual motto “Be Prepared” can be seen on the Trefoil. There are 5 depictions on the fly – the Bernard Coat of Arms, an Axe & Log, a White Tent, a Crowned Rose and a Club – which represented the four Divisions within the County at the time.
This Banner was replaced in 1946 as it was in need of repair and on inspection was found to need too much work and therefoere was not a viable option so the decision was made to make a new one.

History of the County Banner - The Second Banner

The second County Banner was made in 1946 and was dedicated in Burnham Church in April 1946.
The Banner comprises 4 sections; the first being the Guide Trefoil, the second is the Crowned and Chained Swan of Buckinghamshire County, the third section shows a Ram (which was part of the family crest of Lady Burnham) and the fourth displays three miniatures of the Buckinghamshire swan.

History of the County Banner - The Third Banner

The third County Banner completed in 1975 was dedicated in May 1976 at the annual Banner Service held at St George’s Church RAF Halton.
It has a Guide trefoil representing the threefold Promise, the Swan emblem of the County of Buckinghamshire, the motto “Caring and Sharing” and the fly depicts The Buck (representing a form of Heraldic pun), the Whiteleaf Cross (which is cut into the turf in the village overlooking Princes Risborough) and is in a form known as a Latin Cross which is bound up in Christianity, and a Beech Tree showing a Saxon crown on the trunk.