Obituary: Kathleen Davies-Cooke

Kathleen Mabel Davies-Cooke, administrator; born London 5 January 1903; Deputy Chief Commissioner for England, Girl Guide Association 1945-48; Chairman of the Executive, Guide Association 1948-51; Vice-Chairman, 13th World Conference of Guides 1950; President, Trefoil Guild 1954-63; married Ralph Davies-Cooke (died 1974: two sons, one daughter); died Denbigh, Clwyd 26 June 1994.

KATHLEEN Davies-Cooke was a founder member and president of the Trefoil Guild, which was set up to keep former girl guides involved with the Guide Association. She held many appointments within the Guide Association and was generous in giving practical help, never asking anyone to do anything which she hadn't already trained herself in; she had a strong sense of loyalty, humour and charm of manner and enjoyed the friendship and company of young people.

Scouting was a childhood favourite of Davies-Cooke's and her interests ran on boys' lines - carpentry, outdoor games, stalking, tracking and fire-lighting. The Scout Association at that time did not admit girls, and to overcome this rule she joined under the name of John Webb. When she left school she worked in her father's estate office and was qualifying as a surveyor when she married Ralph Davies-Cooke, her cousin. She was involved with Cubs and Scouts at Tilston Malpas, in Cheshire, and in 1936 she was invited to be County Commissioner for Yorkshire West Riding South.

She often recalled the story that it was only through an amusing misunderstanding that she became a County Commissioner. The retiring commissioner was also connected with the St John's Ambulance Brigade and, thinking she had been asked to take over the District unit of the Brigade, Davies-Cooke told her she had got a black uniform. The commissioner murmured, 'But the Guides wear blue, dear,' and Davies-Cooke had to improvise a uniform and hasten to her enrolment at her first County meeting.

From that day she chaired many Guide committees with wisdom, patience and understanding, and the Guide movement owes much to her work as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Council from 1948 to 1951. On her appointment, in a message to Guider magazine readers, the new Chairman reminded them that the executive was there to carry out their wishes, and to sort and advise them on the manifold range of subjects which affected Guiding. Her message was one of strong conviction, that with courage we could add to our numbers many who would learn, by their adherence to Guide ideals and principles, to 'live' as individuals and citizens.

As Vice-Chairman of the 13th World Conference in the United Kingdom she made, with others, many plans for this memorable gathering, and everyone was delighted when she was awarded the Silver Fish (Guiding's highest award) at Oxford in 1950.

Davies-Cooke was known to be equally happy and efficient whether she was running a conference, a farm, a family picnic, a village activity or a club for miners' wives. The Trefoil Guild of today owes much to her wise leadership. She was appointed Chairman in June 1953, but five years earlier had already urged members of the Movement to recognise the Trefoil Guild's value and the support it could give to Guiding.

One of Kathleen Davies-Cooke's gifts was to be able to make those who worked with her feel that they were real partners in their work and that their opinions mattered. Under her guidance a sound organisation was built up, the results of which have proved to be our best thank you to her.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago