Betty Clay

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Betty Clay
Born 16 April 1917
Died 24 April 2004 (aged 87)
Nationality British
Other names Betty St. Clair Baden-Powell
Known for Guiding and Scouting
Spouse Gervas Charles Robert Clay (1936-2004; her death); 4 children

The Hon. Betty St. Clair Baden-Powell, Mrs. Clay, CBE (16 April 1917 – 24 April 2004) was the daughter of Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting and Olave Baden-Powell. She was the sister of Peter Baden-Powell, 2nd Baron Baden-Powell; the aunt of Robert Baden-Powell, 3rd Baron Baden-Powell and Michael Baden-Powell; the niece of Agnes Baden-Powell, Baden Baden-Powell; niece and god-daughter of Warington Baden-Powell; and grand-daughter of the Revd. Prof. Baden Powell.


She was the holder of the Bronze Wolf from the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and a gold Silver Fish in the form of a brooch from the Guide Association. She enrolled in the Brownies as soon as she was old enough. She was educated at Westonbirt School, Gloucestershire and St James' School in Malvern, Worcestershire.[1] While boarding at St James' School, she joined the school's Girl Guide company.[2]

While in Northern Rhodesia, she became a Cub leader for the pack of which one of her sons was a member, when the leader left. She was an active Guider in Northern Rhodesia, eventually becoming Colony Commissioner for Guides. When the Clays returned to England in 1964, Betty continued her involvement. She was President of the South West Region for the Guide Association from 1970-91. In 1978 she was appointed a vice-president of the Guide Association. In 1985 she became a vice-president of the Scout Association.

In 1993, she became the second person ever to be awarded an honorary Gilwell Wood Badge.[3]

Personal life

On board ship, returning from Africa, Betty met Gervas Charles Robert Clay (16 April 1907–18 April 2009), a District Commissioner in Her Majesty's Colonial Service in Northern Rhodesia (present-day Zambia), who was returning to England on leave; they married on 24 September 1936. They lived in Northern Rhodesia until retirement. Gervas Clay later became Her Majesty's Resident Commissioner of the Barotseland Protectorate, in which capacity, in 1960, he and his wife entertained Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Gervas and Betty Clay had four children: Gillian, Robin, Nigel and Crispin. Betty, Gervas and Robin Clay were all born on the 16th April, sharing the same birthday; Betty's parents also shared a birthday, 22nd February, and they, too, had met on board ship.


In 1997 she was awarded the CBE. She attended many jamborees, including the 4th World Scout Jamboree and 16th World Scout Jamboree.


She died, aged 87, in 2004.[4] A memorial service was held at Wells Cathedral, Somerset.


The Scout Association's Betty Clay Library is located in Gilwell Park.

See also


External links