Whether she is wearing her work uniform or walking down the street Elaine Eland will always be recognised as ‘Brown Owl.’
That’s because the Heysham grandma has dedicated 28 years of her life to girl guiding – bagging an award to go with it.
Elaine Eland has been given the 20 years of service (in uniform) award for her volunteer work as a guide leader at Heysham First Brownies.
“It is nice to be recognised but you don’t do it for that obviously,” said Elaine, who used to work at Heysham Post Office. “I do it for the girls and because I enjoy it. I still have girls that come up to me in Morrisons and shout Brown Owl!” The mum-of-three has given confidence to hundreds of girls over the years, including her daughters who were Rainbows (youngest section of Girlguiding) and Brownies (second youngest section of Girlguiding) under her leadership.
“My daughter Cheryl wanted to be a Rainbow but they didn’t have enough space so they opened another unit, the person who was going to be in charge of the new unit dropped out and if they didn’t get a parent to help it would have shut down, so I offered and here I am 28 years later,” said the 55-year-old.
Elaine acts as Brown Owl, the adult leader in charge, every Monday at Heysham First Brownies, held at Heysham Mossgate Sports Centre from 6pm-7.30pm.
Over the years she has been involved in various trips and activities with her group, including trips to Switzerland and Disneyland Paris.
Elaine has encouraged her family to get involved in guiding and her granddaughters will join Rainbows in October.
Daughter Cheryl Parker could not be happier for her mum.
She said: “I know she is a huge inspiration to me and I am so privileged and lucky to call her my mum.”
“Every leader should be like Elaine, if you cut her in half she’d have rainbows and brownies running right through her,” said Claire Johnson.
A number of other guide leaders across Lancaster and Morecambe have also received their 20 years of service award.