Anne’s still a girl guide at 100

Anne Gilbert from Sheffield, the oldest Girl Guide in the country. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Anne Gilbert from Sheffield, the oldest Girl Guide in the country. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Have your say

When Anne Gilbert joined the Brownies movement at the age of eight the movement will still in its formative stages, with the various troops and structures still being arranged.

But evergreen Anne, from Sheffield, who turns 100-years-old today is now leading the field as Britain’s oldest Girl Guide.

Anne as a girl guide at Scarborough in 1957

Anne as a girl guide at Scarborough in 1957

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 travelled the world, visiting Mexico and Switzerland as part of her duties.

She still meets with the Trefoil Guild Guiding for adults once a month.

Throughout her tenure with the movement she has seen some real high and low points. She can still remember the first camp she went on in 1926 and recalls having her meetings in cellars because of the Blitz in World War Two.

The grandma-of-eight and great grandma-of-nine, 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 and was last in a pool just three years ago and 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. Its 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 thinks 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 steelworker, died in 1972.