BRIDGWATER Brownie leader Gemma Chappell was amazed to find out that her Brownie group had carried out a secret lockdown fundraising challenge as a surprise for her.

Gemma is Brown Owl for the Bridgwater 6th St Francis Brownies, who have been unable to meet up in person since March due to the coronavirus pandemic but have been having catching up online each week.

Mindful that funds would be low for the group, Brownie mum Shell Ingram and her daughter Erin decided they wanted to complete a challenge to raise money to help the keep Brownies going through lockdown.

Shell and Erin came up with a 100 mile challenge, and decided it would be great to do it in secret so they provide a lovely surprise for Gemma and the other Brownie leaders.

Inviting other Brownies from the group to join in, the girls were soon swimming, walking, running and cycling, whether in the garden, beach, by the canal or just around their neighbourhood streets.

Within a matter of weeks the 100 mile challenge was completed, and the girls raised £426.30.

Brown Owl Gemma Chappell said she had no idea about the challenge until she was asked to open an envelope during one of the virtual sessions, which contained information about the secret mission, photographs of the Brownies in action and the fundraising money.

“To say I was a little speechless is an understatement," Gemma said.

"To have accomplished such a challenge but to have kept it secret is amazing.

"The Brownies have shown that they can face a challenge and 'do their best' as the Brownie Promise goes - but also to work in a team with their other fellow Brownies despite these difficult circumstances is the epitome of a Brownie.

"They always make me proud but this just demonstrates what an excellent group of Brownies I have”.

Tamsen Wetherall, district commissioner and Brown Owl at the 7th St Johns Brownies thanked the parents and Brownies for making this happen and for all the hard work behind the scenes in arranging this.

Mrs Wetherall said: “To me this shows your appreciation to Gemma and her team for the fantastic work they do as leaders."

No decisions have been made as to what the group will use the fundraising money towards, but Gemma says each and every Brownie will benefit from this amazing contribution.