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Shirley SaundersMembers of Girlguiding IW have recently welcomed a new Island Commissioner, after Janet Lovell ended her term of office last summer.

For the next 5 years, Shirley Saunders will lead the Island’s Girlguides. The appointment has been made by the South West England Region Chief Commissioner, Solange Rebours.

Shirley lives in Sandown and is assistant leader of 5th Sandown Brownies. She will continue with this role as well as holding the post of Island Commissioner. Shirley is no stranger to Girlguiding having been Guiding for over 20 years. She moved to the Island 2 years ago to be closer to her mother, who had lived here for 30 years until she died recently.

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Since moving to the Isle of Wight Shirley has been Tawny Owl of 5th Sandown Brownies. Prior to her move to the Island her Guiding experience was in Milton Keynes where she was a Brownie Leader, Division Commissioner and Trustee.

Shirley said:

“I am very much looking forward to my new role as Island Commissioner and would like to thank all members who I have met so far for the warm welcome I have received.   My vision is to build on the ambition of my predecessors, bring the island closer together and help Girlguiding on the Island continue to grow.”

In an introductory letter to leaders Shirley said:

“I would like to thank you all for the time and effort you all put into your units and Guiding on the Island in general and look forward to working with you all during my time in office.”

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With well over 1,000 members Girlguiding IW is part of the largest female organisation in the UK and World. Over 600,000 members regularly attend meetings and events in the UK which is divided into Countries and Regions.  The Island forms part of the South West England Region which includes the Channel Islands and Isles of Scilly as well as the mainland counties in this area of the UK totalling 16 counties in all.

Following her appointment Shirley has appointed Lesley Clifford, also from Sandown, as Assistant Island Commissioner. Lesley will also hold this appointment for 5 years.

One of the first official engagements for Shirley and Lesley was to attend a reception hosted by Solange Rebours and her Region team. This evening reception was held at the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth and guests included heads of business, civic dignitaries form Hampshire as well as members of the wider community.

At the reception a short video entitled ‘Discovering Your Potential’ emphasised how would-be employees who can demonstrate life experiences and skills have an advantage.

Testimonials from five adults from various companies gave credence to Girlguiding as a good grounding for employment. Solange then introduced another video which gave a good flavour of how girls in Guiding regularly have a wide range of activities and pursuits to take part in.

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