Scouts raise cash for Japan quake victims

Phoebe Hext, ten, Bevan Cope, twelve, and Trent Pickering, twelve, of the 1st Alton Manor Scouts, make origami peace cranes for the Japan Tsunami appeal at Fleet Arts, Belper.
Phoebe Hext, ten, Bevan Cope, twelve, and Trent Pickering, twelve, of the 1st Alton Manor Scouts, make origami peace cranes for the Japan Tsunami appeal at Fleet Arts, Belper.

generous Scouts from a troop in Belper have raised enough money to send vital supplies to victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

The Alton Manor Scout Group decided to take up the Japanese art of origami to help the thousands of victims in the Far East.

Meghan Pierce, thirteen, of the 1st Alton Manor Scouts, with some of the origami peace cranes that she made for the Japan Tsunami appeal at Fleet Arts, Belper.

Meghan Pierce, thirteen, of the 1st Alton Manor Scouts, with some of the origami peace cranes that she made for the Japan Tsunami appeal at Fleet Arts, Belper.

They were aiming to raise enough cash to buy a shelterbox to send out to Japan.

Each box costs £490 and is designed to help a family of up to ten people survive and start rebuilding their lives after a disaster, which has so far claimed 17,000 lives.

The main challenge the Scouts set themselves was to fold 1,000 paper origami cranes. They have so far folded between 400 and 450.

Four other Scouts also did sponsored challenges.

They have so far managed to raise a total of £530. Now, they are aiming to reach their target of 1,000 cranes so that they can send a second box to Japan.

Twelve-year-old Scout Bevan Cope came up with the origami idea. He explained: “A thousand origamic cranes is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes held together by strings.

“An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury.

“The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise), and is said to live for a thousand years.

“In Japan, it is commonly said that folding 1000 paper origami cranes makes a person’s wish come true.”

The Scouts and some parents started folding the cranes on Saturday and Sunday. Group leader Simon Black said they will keep going until they reach 1,000.

He said: “One parent came forward and said for every crane we made they would donate 10p, so if we make a 1,000 that is £100.

“The Scouts have had a really good time. It would have been nice to have been doing this for a different reason, but they are enjoying doing something for a worthwhile cause.

“It is harder than it looks to fold a crane. It is very intricate and there is a lot of folding involved.”

The four Scouts who did sponsored challenges were Trent Pickering, Phoebe Hext, Anisha Gamblin, and George Shepherd.

Trent, 12, held a cake stall on Belper Market Place and raised £114. He baked some cakes himself and also enlisted the help of his family and other Scouts.

Phoebe, ten, and Anisha, 11, did a three-legged race, while George, 11, ran 20 laps of a football pitch.

Simon said: “We are really confident of getting a second box.

“It has been slightly less arduous than we thought it would be.”

The whole thing has also been part of a Global Challenge badge that the Scouts are undertaking.

They have to do two things – make contact with a Scout group abroad and do an activity with them, and also to understand an international issue.

Simon said: “We are in the process of establishing contact with a Scout group in the unaffected south of Japan so that they can act as a ‘bridge’ for us to help a Scout group in north of Japan affected by the disaster to re-establish their Scouting.

“We will do a troop activity with these Scouts via a live link-up when it is appropriate.

“We also have to talk about the earthquake and why it happened. We have discussed the implications of the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear radiation problems.

“It is so the Scouts can get a wider understanding of the world in which they live.”

Last weekend, some of the Scouts also camped out overnight at the Fleet Arts centre, in Belper, where the group is based. Simon said: “It helps build up their independence.”