Can you help solve the mystery as historic Girl Guide shield returned to Sleaford

Readers of the Sleaford Standard are asked if they can help solve the mystery of how a shield bearing the name of the 4th Sleaford Girl Guides ended up in an auction in Sheffield.

Guides and Rangers of the 4th Sleaford Company with Sir Bob Russell and the historic shield which he bought in an auction. EMN-211116-112909001

Thanks to the High Steward of Colchester, Sir Bob Russell, the shield has now “come home to Sleaford” after he bought it along with a flag for the 18th Colchester Boy Scout Troop.

The Troop was formed in 1921 but ceased to exist about 80 years ago.

How the two items came together is a mystery. The Sheffield Auction House have told Sir Bob that the items were from a house clearance, some of whose contents were brought to them.

The 4th Sleaford Girl Guides are made up of pupils at Kesteven and Sleaford Girls High School, where they hold their weekly meetings. They were formed in 1955, so the shield could date from as much as 65 years ago.

Sir Bob, who is an Ambassador to Girlguiding UK, has now returned the shield to the school. He attended the annual “Parliament Week” event during which he spoke to Guides and Rangers about his 18 years as MP for Colchester. He also took part in a question and answer session.

In the presence of the County and District Guide Commissioners, Sir Bob then formally handed the shield back to the 4th Sleaford Guides. Prior to him contacting them they had no knowledge of the shield from the distant past.

The auction took place in Sheffield in January last year, with Sir Bob driving to Yorkshire to collect both the flag and shield from the auction house.

It had been intended that he would return the shield in the same month that the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were imposed. It is only now that he has been able to travel to Sleaford to hand it over.

Sir Bob is a social historian and it was the flag of the former 18th Colchester Scouts which prompted his interest in the auction.

He said: “The bonus of the 4th Sleaford Guides shield being a second item in the lot at the auction made the purchase doubly fortunate, because I have brought it back to where it belongs in Sleaford.”