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Girl Guide leader dies, aged 99

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Summary of story from The Telegraph, October 5, 2011

Beryl Cozens-Hardy, who died in late September, devoted 85 years of her life to the Girl Guide movement.

Born on November 30, 1911 in Liverpool, she was educated at St James’ School in Malvern and joined the Girl Guides when aged 14.

She passed the exams for the Foreign Office, and during the Second World War served with the postal censorship department, in Bermuda.

All mail being transported by flying boat between North America and Europe had to stop there, and the censors intercepted mail from the United States bound for Germany. On occasion mail from diplomatic bags would be steamed open, read and replaced. Letters were also tested for secret inks.

After the war Cozens-Hardy returned to Britain and a job at the Foreign Office, where she assisted in the restoration of British postal services throughout the world.

The Girl Guides, however, remained the great passion of her life.

Among her many posts, she served as district commissioner for Liverpool and North Norfolk; county commissioner for Norfolk; as a member of the Commonwealth Headquarters Council and Executive Committee, 1955–67; and Chief Commissioner for England 1961–70.

In 1963 she received the Silver Fish, the highest award in British Guiding.

Having been a member of the World Committee since 1966, Cozens-Hardy assumed the movement’s most senior position in 1972, when she became chair of the World Committee of the Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, overseeing a global membership of more than seven million.

An indefatigable fund-raiser for garden charities, magistrate and local councillor, at the age of 64 she canoed up the Amazon with a friend.

She died on September 25, aged 99.

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