Iris, 90, cuts cake with Duchess at birthday bash

Dedicated Girlguiding volunteer Iris Swaffield, 90, at her birthday bash with the Duchess of Norfolk
Dedicated Girlguiding volunteer Iris Swaffield, 90, at her birthday bash with the Duchess of Norfolk

AN ARUNDEL woman has been honoured on her 90th birthday for her dedication and commitment to Girlguiding over the past 80 years, by the Duchess of Norfolk.

Iris Swaffield was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a specially-engraved vase by the Duchess during a surprise celebration at the Arundel Scout Hut, in Green Lane Close, to mark her birthday.

Rainbows, Brownies and Guides from across the town were joined at the event by guests from the Trefoil Guild and leaders of the Scouts from Arundel to celebrate Iris’ big day.

The Duchess, Iris, the girls and her guests joined in with campfire songs and games before tucking into a delicious buffet and sharing of a slice of Iris’ home-made, two-tier cake which had been baked by one of the Girlguiding leaders.

Iris said: “Today was a complete and utter surprise.

“Since I started all those years ago, I have seen Girlguiding in this area grow and grow, so to have so many people here to celebrate my birthday is absolutely overwhelming. I feel so very appreciated for my work.”

Iris first became involved in Guiding when she joined the Brownies at the tender age of eight. She has been with Girlguiding ever since.

Her roles over the years have included unit leader, district and division commissioner, treasurer and her current role as the county badge secretary.

Iris has also been running the local division Guide shop in Arundel for the last 27 years and is held in very high esteem by both girls and their leaders across the county.

The Duchess of Norfolk said Iris was a lovely woman, adding: “As the patron of Girlguiding Sussex West, I was thrilled to be invited to celebrate Iris’s 90th birthday.

“Girlguiding really is like a big family and I have known Iris and several of the local leaders for many years as my own daughter attended Brownies in Arundel when she was younger. Today was a fitting celebration for a lovely lady.”