Working up the Badge
“We must have a badge” was the cry from the committee; that is, after all, how Scouts have always celebrated great achievements - over to you Mang...
Where to start? What needs to be considered? How are they made?
The latter question is the easiest: there are plenty of companies that make and sell badges and allow you to design your own. We had used Tolley’s Badges a couple of years ago for the Cub Centenary Badge, so that’s was the first decision made.
The easiest thing to do is to choose an existing badge or to adopt an existing design ... but the Thames Path Trek is a unique challenge for the whole group, nothing on the shelf really matched our ambition. So more research was necessary....
Firstly I looked at the route of the Trek itself: viewing this on a UK map really shows the extent of the ambition to walk the Thames in one day from source to barrier, 184 miles.
Next, what would we pass on the route? Fields of sheep in Gloucestershire, numerous churches, castles (Windsor and the Tower of London), country houses (Basildon Park, Syon House, Hampton Court etc), the cities of Oxford and London, the jolly boating towns (Henley, Wargrave and Goring), Royal Parks and Kew Gardens, the capital’s top attractions (Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Sky Scrapers) and the remarkable engineering achievement of the Thames Barrier itself. There would be wildlife encounters too .... No way would all of this fit a single badge.
Another piece of research was to look at what others might have used as a logo or emblem for the Thames as a whole. Old Father Thames, the ancient symbol, seemed just that: old fashioned. The Thames Path Trail itself uses a canal barge on its Thames badge: that didn’t seem right. A commercial charity events company uses a couple of loops of the river and a large boot print.
We finally settled on a concept: as the river is what links all 25 groups on the Trek that should be the central theme of the badge. Around this we added text about the TPT and 1st Claygate. Then some key symbols of the sights on the route: (1) Windsor Castle for history and its association with scouts on St George’s Day, (2) the London Eye as most of our walkers will have been corn after the millennium, (3) Tower Bridge as the most iconic link between north and south banks of the river (4) a duck for wildlife and (5)the end point of the Barrier.
Size, shape and colours were next. We could only do justice to the length of the Thames by using a rectangle. The experts at Tolley’s advised on the size and colours fell into place quite easily.
The final task was to get the design agreed by the County Commissioner for Surrey so that we can wear the badge on our uniforms until the end of 2018.
I hope you like it.