Born on April 16, 1917, Betty was their third and youngest child and was closely
involved in both Scouting and Guiding all her life. She acted as assistant to
her mother and father on many of their world tours but her personal contribution
to both Movements went far beyond the demands of family connection. Perhaps her
greatest role, as well as her pride and pleasure, was to keep alive in the
thoughts of successive generations of members of the Scout and Guide Movements
the memories of her parents. How many hundreds of times must she have heard
after one of her talks ‘It was just like hearing your mother speak? for she
had the same mannerisms, enthusiasm and inflections of voice. But she was in her
own right ‘Betty? loved and admired for herself and the dedication she
brought to her varied work for both Movements through the years and in many
Her own childhood was full of ‘ordinary?happiness - picnics, learning to
ride, swimming, looking after pets, all in the company of Peter and Heather, her
older brother and sister and the ever expanding number of people who visited the
Chief Scout and the World Chief Guide. She
trained in secretarial work. In 1934 -1935 she joined her parents on a world tour visiting Scouts and Guides in the Far East,
Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America, having already
travelled with them in previous years on the Goodwill Cruises.
In May 1936 while returning by
ship with her parents from South Africa, she first met Gervas Clay. It was a scenario strikingly similar to
her parents?first meeting on a boat sailing to America in 1912. Like her
parents, Betty and Gervas also shared a birthday. So when Betty met a man on a
boat, also born April 16, it was as though fate was calling to her. Betty and
Gervas married in the village church near her parents?home at Bentley on
September 24 1936.
Family Album - Heather Baden-Powell & The Boy Man
Her Guide training and the Scout motto ‘Be prepared?must have constantly
stood her in good stead, living in the African bush and bringing up four
children in hard conditions. And, like so many parents before her and since, she
was a Cub Scout Leader for a time following the anguished appeal from her own
son who was afraid the Pack would close because the current leader was leaving.
In Guiding she served as Acting District Commissioner,
Division Commissioner and Commissioner for African Guides and finally as Colony
Commissioner. She was a Guider in all three sections. She held a Camper’s
Licence, a Guide and Camp Training Certificate and, for the last two years of
her time in Northern Rhodesia, she was adviser for Training in that country.
|1940 Betty, Grevas and their first two children, Gillian and
from World Adventure
When they returned to England in 1964 she continued her
work for Guiding becoming Division Commissioner for Taunton and Deputy Chief
Commissioner for England.
In Scouting’s 60th year she unveiled the memorial stone on Brownsea Island to
her father’s experimental camp.
When Guiding in England was divided into Regions in 1970 she became President
for South West England, a position she held until 1991 and in 1978 she was
appointed a Vice-President of The Guide Association. In addition she was
President of the Trefoil Guild from 1989 to 1994 and a founder member of the
Olave Baden-Powell Society in 1985. Because of her unique and valued place in
Guiding, The Guide Association presented her in 1995 with a special gold version
of its Silver Fish award in the form of a brooch.
|Betty and her daughter
||Betty lays a wreath on
her parent's grave
Memorial Service 1999
She was awarded the Silver Wolf in 1984, The Scout Association’s highest award
for good service, became a Vice-President of the Association in 1989 and in 1993
became only the second person ever to have been awarded an honorary Gilwell wood
badge (the first being her mother). World Scouting recognised her with its only
and prestigious award, the Bronze Wolf in 1999.
In 1997 her unique services to Scouting and Guiding were recognised with the
award of the CBE in Her Majesty the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Camp, events, meetings, Jamborees - Scouting and Guiding were Betty’s life.
She was as much at ease chatting with the King of Sweden as she was with the
youngest Brownie. In an article on ‘Thinking Day? for the ‘Guider?magazine in 1978, Betty wrote: It can be given to very few families to be loved
by millions of people of many nations? looking back to the days of the
Founder and the World Chief Guide and of herself, Peter and Heather, as they
grew up in that unique family, sharing Scouting and Guiding with the world.
Betty continued that completely unselfish, warm-hearted sharing all her life and
through the link with her parents kept them ‘alive?for millions of young
people and adults who had never seen them.
adapted from Pinetree webste
The last direct link to
Chief Scout Robert Baden-Powell was lost on April 24th, 2004, when his last
surviving child, Betty Clay, died.
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