They dedicated 80 years to Scouts between them, and on Sunday the Allansford group honoured two former leaders by naming the hall after them.
Mepunga’s Margaret Haberfield unveiled the plaque that lists her name alongside that of her friend and fellow Scout leader Isobel Chislett who passed away shortly after the pair retired about four years ago.
Mrs Haberfield and Mrs Chislett had a special bond that spanned decades of services to Scouts, but also through times of hardships when they each lost a son.
One of Mrs Chislett’s two sons, 15-year-old Graham, died after trying to rescue another boy, who also drowned, during a Scout canoe trip on the Merri River in 1978. “She was more into Scouts after that because it was her way of healing,” Mrs Haberfield said.
“It was a terrible time because it was eight days before they found Graham’s body, in actual fact it was on my birthday.”
When the pair decided to retire after 38 years of service for Mrs Haberfield and 43 years for Mrs Chislett, it was met with tears from both children and parents.
“Sadly a month later Isobel was diagnosed with cancer,” Mrs Haberfield said. “She never got to do all the things we were going to do when we finished.
“She was in hospital when our son was killed and I went in to see her the next morning.
“She said I’m going to that funeral even if I have to crawl, and she did. Robert died on January 14 and she died on February 14.”
Mrs Haberfield’s son, who was also a Queen’s Scout and had served as president, died in a cattle truck accident on the Cobden-Naringal Road in 2014.
The owner of the truck her son was driving at the time of the accident was at yesterday’s plaque unveiling. “He comes to see me every Mother’s Day since Robert has died and brought me some flowers,” she said.
Mrs Haberfield was warranted as a Cub Scout leader in the mid-1970s, and even after her four boys had finished up with the Scouts, she continued to help out.
Seven of Mrs Haberfield’s grandchildren have also become Scouts and some of them were at Sunday’s event alongside her husband, daughter and one of her sons. Mrs Haberfield said she was shocked when she was told about the hall honour. “I’m just blown away,” she said.
Regional coordinator Peter Newell told the crowd, which also included some of Mrs Chislett’s relatives who had travelled from Melbourne, that: “Scout leaders make a difference and Isobel and Margaret have done that more than most”.