South Tyneside grandmother celebrates 50 years of supporting the community as a Brownies leader

A South Tyneside Brownie leader is celebrating 50 years of supporting the community and has been recognised for her amazing achievement.

Muriel Metcalfe, 71, started as a Brownie leader 50 years ago, in 1972, as it still going strong in her role today, supporting the community and teaching young girls aged seven-10 valuable life skills to take into adulthood.

Muriel, originally from South Shields but who now lives in Jarrow, began at Brownies after temporarily filling in for a friend and 50 years later is still in her role today, running Hedworthfield Brownies in Jarrow.

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To celebrate her achievement, Muriel, who is a retired catering manager, was awarded with a 50-year achievement award as a commissioned Brown Owl and says she has no signs of stopping.

Muriel (right) receiving her award from Christine Mantel, Durham Girl Guide & Brownie District Commissioner
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She said: “The world that way we live in today, I think giving something back is so important. People that I started with 50 years ago have now gone on to become grandparents and I still see them, so it’s a real community and a passion for me. I love doing it. As long as I’m capable of being able to do it I’ll continue.

“I think groups like ours are very, very important. I like to think hopefully I’m giving these girls some life skills that’ll take through to their adult life. It’s not just a youth club, we try to teach them as much as possible and I give them the best that I can. It was amazing to get the 50 year award. I knew it was coming and when the ladies turned up to present me with it, it was just lovely. I don’t expect anything out of this, I do it because I enjoy it, it’s part of my life.”

Muriel has many highlights over the last 50 years but some that stand out include, supporting less fortunate members of the community and continuing throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, where sessions temporarily moved to Zoom.

Muriel Metcalfe and Christine Mantel, Durham Girl Guide and Brownie District Commissioner

Brownies aims to teach girls aged seven to 10 about themselves, their community and the world and also includes camping and day trips, which Muriel loves.