But it rapidly became apparent that the structure was not as sound as previously.
In 1992 at the AGM, the decision was taken to start a building fund with a view to erecting a new, purpose-built HQ. Roger Mitchell, the Headmaster, quickly gave his blessing to the idea, and before long fund-raising had started.
Proceeds from paper salvage, which had long been a staple of our finances, were diverted to the new fund, and the long series of boot sales was inaugurated. At first we ran on the car parking area in front of the Lower School, and on the adjacent grass areas. Refreshments were prepared by Glen Russell in one of the classrooms. Then our activities were noticed by Bob Horsley, who owned a hot-dog van, which he brought to the sales. He also used his influence with his circle of acquaintances to increase the number of stalls, until we were soon occupying the whole of the playground and in summer spilling over onto the fields around. We ran once a month for about ten years all together, and at the height of their success the sales were attracting over 100 stalls and raising quite large sums for the fund.
Several architects had volunteered their services, and the committee selected a design for the new building by Stuart Rumsey of RDP, whose oldest son was already a member of the Troop. There was some opposition from the neighbours to our building project, who had just seen an end to the disturbance caused to them by the building of the Rugby Club, and we had to overcome their objections to planning permission being granted. Stuart was our main helper in this difficulty. When we started the project, the National Lottery had not been invented, but we realised that our only chance of acquiring sufficient funds to commission the building he had designed was to apply to the Charities Board. Our first application was rejected, but at the second attempt we were successful, and in October 1998 we were able to demolish the hut, so that the ground could be prepared for the contractors, Quadric Ltd., to take possession of the site and begin to lay the foundations.
During the whole rebuilding process we had nowhere of our own to meet, of course, and 1st Hastings kindly made their hall in Oxford Road available to us for our Pack, Troop and Unit meetings. This enabled us to maintain continuity, and was much appreciated, but there is really nowhere like your own place, and we were greatly relieved when the time came, the following autumn, to move back home. Meanwhile, a further unlooked-for complication arose in relation to the store hut. We had put most of our day-to-day equipment in it, as well as the camping gear, but meanwhile it had also suffered further serious damage from the weather and vandalism. It now had to be demolished, as a matter of urgency, before we were really ready. Luckily, the new camp store was about complete, and we were allowed to take possession of it in time to transfer our worldly goods across.
When we moved in towards the end of 1999, there was still a lot to be done to the building, which we had decorated and prepared for use ourselves, during the summer, but lack of funds meant that many items had to wait.