This cub pack was part of the 2nd Beeston Sea Scout Group
Donald Hallam who supplied the photograph, was my elder brother. He was born on 17 November 1928 in Beeston. As we can see above, he was an early member of 2nd Beeston cubs, after he and his neighbour on Wallett Avenue, Jack Hayes, had been encouraged to join by Ronald and Peter Burton. He continued into the scout section, attending some of the wartime camps which, by necessity, were held locally, notably at the Walesby Campsite. He once described how they were in camp at Calke Abbey when VE day was announced in 1945. After the war he progressed to the Rover Crew and, like others, became very involved in the urgent task of re-establishing the river base after its forced removal from its pre-war site. In 1947, he was called-up for National Service with the Fleet Air Arm for two years. After demob in 1949, he was appointed Scoutmaster of the junior section - and, in fact, took his first meeting of the troop on the evening he returned home. 2nd Beeston has been strong in membership, activities and enthusiasm for much of its 90 year history and the five years under Don's direction were certainly no exception. Notable amongst the many highlights was the development of the river base, activities there during every weekend during the summer, an extra badge work meeting on Saturday afternoons at the then Station Road Headquarters, innovative ideas for Bob-a-Job week - then a very new fundraising opportunity that had caught the public eye - success in the County Flag camping competition and two successive visits to TS Foudroyant in Portsmouth Harbour in the summers of 1953 and 1954.
While, as a boy, Don had won a Scholarship to Henry Mellish School, his education there had been blighted by war-time shortages and restrictions, such that he was never able to reach formal education levels that would be expected today. Nevertheless, Don never let that become an issue in his career and through his ability to demonstrate a diligent, flexible and commonsense approach to his employers while achieving real results, he was able to progress a career and ultimately to reach very senior positions.
It was in the autumn of 1954 that he received a letter from someone he knew who clearly recognised those qualities. Fred Thraves had been another leading 2nd Beeston officer before he had emigrated to Canada to run a lumber (timber) exporting business and now he wanted someone to run the administration and thought of Don. So it was that, aged 26, he left for Canada and started work in Sackville, New Brunswick - something of a backwater but somewhere he set about establishing himself. As it happens, one of the first things he did was to meet and marry the 'love of his life', Nancy Chitty who was to be beside him for almost 58 years, until her death in 2013. They were to have three children.
After a few years Don moved on to take up a position as a Legal Executive with a leading law firm in Moncton, New Brunswick and stayed there for about 10 years. It was a fast-moving and exciting environment - I know because I joined him there for about five years - and an experience that would serve him well in he remainder of his career.
But for real career progression it was necessary to move west and that's what he did - first to Montreal where he held an executive position with a finance company and ultimately to Vancouver where he joined a major international mining company in the Company Secretary Department in an executive position and later became Company Secretary. Over the remainder of his career, until his retirement in the 1990s he was assigned to several senior positions for the company, throughout the world, including managing its operation on the west coast of America and in Sydney, Australia and eventually in Barbados.
In retirement, he was able to spend more time on his sailing boat, in the beautiful coastal waters around Vancouver. Eventually, as he and Nancy became older, they depended more and more on the comfort of conventional sea cruising which again took them all over the world. After Nancy's death in 2013, Don continued sea cruising and, happily, in the summer of 2017, when the cruise he was on arrived in Liverpool, we were able to meet up with him (see Don and myself on that occasion, left). It was to be our last time together as, sadly, he died on Christmas Day in that year, aged 89.
John Rufford Harrison who coincidently appears beside Don on the group photograph was born in Beeston on 5 May 1930, the only child of John Leslie and Winifred May Harrison, of 33 Marlborough Road. As a boy Rufford (as he was aways known) was a member of the choir at Beeston Parish Church, an experience that stayed with him all his live and he was to go on to sing in various choral groups for many years. He too went to Henry Mellish School and was to go on to Kings College, University of London.
After gaining a PhD in organic chemistry in 1953, he joined the DuPont Company and emigrated to the United States, settling first in Niagara Falls, New York State. A year later he married Elizabeth Armstrong and they went on to have two children before their divorce in 1968. Ten years later he married Martha Nortaft (née Nake). He was to remain with DuPont throughout his career, moving within the company to Wilmington, Delaware and retiring in 1990 with the position of product manager in the paper industry.
During his student days, he had discovered an interest in table tennis and this was to become a huge part of his life and hugely influential at the highest level, once he became established in America. During his long and dedicated involvement with the United States Table Tennis Association he did much to establish umpiring and equipment standards and development of the sport generally. In 1958 he became President of the Association and continued in various official positions over many years. It was as Vice-President of the International Table Tennis Federation, while at the 1971 World Championship in Nagoya, Japan he received an invitation for the U.S. team to visit China. The subsequent visit and later reciprocal visit of the Chinese team to the U.S. in 1972, became hugely significant acts of international diplomacy, paving the way for President Nixon's visit less than a year later. It became known the world-over as 'Ping-Pong Diplomacy'. Rufford had been very much part of this breakthrough and it hadn't been forgotten when, years later, he was invited to attend an event at the White House when he shared the dance floor with President Reagan.
Another activity which may well have been inspired by his Beeston days was his passionate interest in sailing which lead him to became the Commodore of the New Castle Sailing Club on the Delaware River.
In retirement he and his wife moved to live in Washington, New Hampshire and later to a retirement community in Concord, New Hampshire where he faced a battle with Parkinson's Disease in his final years. He died on 28 January 2017, aged 86.