Rain stops play for scouts at Punchestown

JAMBOREE 2008 at Punchestown has been a washout thanks to the weather with a visitors' day cancelled on Wednesday and a world-record breaking attempt postponed.

The youngest members of the scouting organisation have also been told to stay away due to the rain.

An attempt to break a world record for the amount of people shaking hands simultaneously had to be postponed for health and safety reasons on Wednesday due to the torrential rain.

Despite this the 12,500 scouts from all over the world attending Jamboree 2008 - marking 100 years of scouting in Ireland - are in high spirits and partaking in a full programme of activities.

However, ten per cent of the scouts had to be moved on Wednesday night as they had set up tent in a hollow dip on the field.

"About 30 milimetres of rain fell on Wednesday night here," said Ciara Higgins, PRO with Scouting Ireland.

"We took a decision to cancel the 11,000 visitors scheduled for today (Wednesday) to preserve the integrity of our site. We felt that the health and safety of our scouts was of the upmost importance. The 1,500

Beavers are still scheduled to come out and all activites are full steam ahead. Our cubs are not coming on site because of the rain. If only they could put a roof over Ireland!"

Despite patchy weather, morale at the Jamboree is high and everyone is enjoying the unique opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones from all over Ireland and further afield.

"It is a sea of colour here today and people are smiling despite the bad weather," Ciara revealed yesterday (Thursday). "It's been absolutely brillant so far. We had a fire show last night until midnight and the atmosphere was electric. We have a Mad Hatters Tea party scheduled for this afternoon and the handshake (world record attempt) will now take place on Saturday evening."

The Scouting Ireland joint campaign with 'Friends in Ireland' entitled 'Get Knotted' will culminate on the jamboree site with scouts attempting a knot tying world record in the company of broadcaster Marian Finucane.

The campaign was run to raise funds and awareness around HIV and AIDS in South Africa.

A gathering of adult scouters will also take place in Punchestown for recipients and holders of Scouting Ireland's 'Order of Cuchullain' the highest adult award in scouting, bestowed upon those volunteers who have given long and profound service to scouting in Ireland.


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