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Scout group celebrate anniversary in Shrewsbury « Shropshire Star

The grim cells and walkways of Shrewsbury s Dana Prison echoed with the sound of laughing children this weekend.

About 200 cubs and scouts, along with 50 adults, filled the former jailhouse with fun as they descended en masse for a sleepover with a difference. After taking a tour of the prison, the youngsters, all from various packs with Tern Valley Scouts, which covers an area from Wellington to Whitchurch to Market Drayton, prepared to bed down in the cells but not before exploring the huge building and making a lot of joyous noise. The event was overseen by Gail Matthews, assistant district leader for Tern Valley, whose daughter Heather Ford, a leader with Shawbury Air Scouts, said they were there for the night, staying over from Friday to Saturday.

She said: It s the 100th anniversary of the cubs this year, so there are different programmes for them to do happening all over the place.

We thought we would do something a little out of the box . A few leaders from different cub packs were out together and we thought, we ve heard Shrewsbury Prison does tours how about a sleepover?

Scout Group Celebrate Anniversary In Shrewsbury « Shropshire StarCub Billy Ballard, eight, checks out his new bed

They said it was OK, as long as they could work out the logistics. We had a few meetings and here we are. She said the youngsters would be sleeping two to a cell, one each on the prisoner s bunk beds. However at 9pm on Friday the children were more interested in running around the walkways, playing and enjoying themselves.

They re just buzzing I don t think there s going to be much sleep tonight, she said. Stuart Williams, a maths teacher at Telford College of Arts and Technology from Apley, was there dropping off son Sam, eight, who is with the Second Wellington Cub Scout Group and goes to Apley Wood Primary School. Mr Williams, 53, said: We think it s brilliant. It scares them a little bit but they absolutely love it.

Alice Page, nine, who is with Shawbury Cub Scouts and goes to Clive Primary School, said she was excited to be there, but it was also a bit scary. Fellow nine-year-old Shawbury cub Callum Thorpe, who goes to St Mary s Shawbury Primary School, said: It was scary coming in because we didn t know what it was going to be like.

Scout Group Celebrate Anniversary In Shrewsbury « Shropshire StarCub leaders Gail Matthews, left, and Heather Ford

But all the cubs agreed it was a lot of fun. Joel Campbell, who runs Jailhouse Tours, the company behind the event, said the next big event planned was a full prison experience, where people would get to live the life a prisoner.

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