Our Team


All of our team are volunteers who give up their free time to provide excellent and exciting adventures to our young people. Our team are not special people, with years of military service, they are office workers, managers, labourers, drivers and educators – all of them doing a very special thing in providing Skills For Life.


Dave Finch - Hagrid

Group Scout Leader

Group Scout Leader – Dave Finch (Hagrid)

Having joined 1st Abram in 1995 as Cub Scout Leader, Dave realised that he had a love for all things Scouting. He turned the Cubs section around, building it based on tradition and skills of being kids, having fun, and adventure!

In 2007 following the passing of, then Group Scout Leader ‘Grimmy’, Dave took over the top spot, with the aim to continue growing the group in Grimmy’s Legacy!

Officially taking the top spot in 2015, Dave kept his love for Cubs at heart, eventually taking on the role of Assistant District Commissioner (Cubs) in 2016.

In 2020, Dave was announced as Greater Manchester West’s Assistant County Commissioner (Cubs) and, whilst continuing to do an amazing job at 1st Abram, is also expanding provisions for amazing Cubs Adventures at a County Level, for years to come!


Sheila Finch MBE - Ahmeek

Beaver Scout Leader

Beaver Scout Leader – Sheila Finch MBE (Ahmeek)

Rewind back to 1992, a group in termoil, at the verge of closure. Sheila and good friend Eileen Roden attended a public meeting at the Scout Hut as they were trying to recruit new volunteers. Eileen’s son was a Beaver at the time. Eileen and Sheila decided the join up as Beaver Scout Leader and Assistant Beaver Scout Leader respectively, with others jumping in to save the group. When Eileen returned to Ireland after the death of her husband, Sheila stepped upto Beaver Scout Leader and the rest, as they say is history.

Sheila has volunteered all her adult life, at children’s hospitals, the local school and, of course, the group, while working full-time and latterly part-time for over 40 years at HMRC and in 2014 was awarded an MBE for her services to the treasury and volunteering in Greater Manchester. She is the mother of the group and, as Beavers Section Leader, has always managed to recruit and retain members who go on to become the lifeblood of the group.

Assistant Beaver Scout Leader
Kirsty Wilson (Tarka)

Kirsty Wilson - Tarka

Assistant Beaver Scout Leader

Kirsty’s Story to follow…

Assistant Beaver Scout Leader
Michelle Bennet (Raksha)

Michelle Bennett - Raksha

Assistant Beaver Scout Leader

Michelle became involved in Cubs fairly recently, in 2018. Until her step-son joined Beavers, she had no experience with Scouting, however she found out that she really enjoyed helping out with husband, Craig. Michelle started as a parent helper, but quickly progressed up to Assistant Cub Scout Leader.

Outside of Scouting, Michelle is a full-time mum to their daughter, but is also qualified in Criminal and Forensic Psychology, and has experience of working in Adult Care, and with special needs.

These unique skills make Michelle really approachable to Cubs and parents alike, and allow her to welcome and support everyone with open arms.

Assistant Beaver Scout Leader
Joanne Gelling (Rainbow)

Joanne Gelling - Rainbow

Assistant Beaver Scout Leader

As a child, Joanne attended Brownies and Guides in our Scout Hut at Fisher Avenue, and had fond memories of that time in her life.

Fast forward a few years, and Joanne’s son joined Beavers! On his first night, Joanne received a letter asking if anyone could help out, and she jumped at the chance, hoping to give others the happy memories she had from such a group when she was a child. Her son is now 23, but she still helps out at Beavers. Over the years, Joanne’s mum has also helped out, and now her husband (Denis), helps out when work permits.

Section Assistant (Beavers)
Denis Gelling (Malak)

Denis Gelling - Malak

Section Assistant (Beavers)

Denis is the newest member of our Beavers’ leadership team. He joined us a couple of years ago to support his wife (Joanne) in volunteering and after seeing how much she enjoys it.

Although Denis can’t help out as much as he would like, due to his job as a lorry driver, when he is with us at the hut he’s often found in the middle of a game for which there may be no purpose, no rules and no point – but the Beavers love it, and we think secretly, deep down, he does too.

Assistant Beaver Scout Leader
Craig Bennett (King Louie)

Craig Bennett - King Louie

Assistant Beaver Scout Leader

Craig joined Cubs at the beginning of 2018 when his own son was a Cub. He hadn’t had any experience of Scouting himself as a child but found helping the kids and seeing them achieve their own goals very rewarding. When in uniform, Craig is the one who can be found being as daft as the Cubs and getting involved in all of the activities, and is caring and helpful with everyone.

Craig has family members with additional needs, and so understands differences in children, while not treating them differently.

Out of uniform, Craig is a manager and inspector of a metal company, and a dad of two children.


Andy Brown - Akela

Cubs Scout Leader

Cub Scout Leader – Andy Brown (Akela)

Having taken over as Cub Scout Leader in January 2018, Andy, full-time IT Systems Administrator, and part-time Video Marketer, started working to develop Cubs into a traditional, and skills-focused section, with an emphasis on fun and adventure. He was in Cubs and Scouts as a child, and has fond memories of his time there.

In 2021, Andy joined the Greater Manchester West County team as their Digital Services Coordinator, focusing on providing Digital Tools to the county. He’s also a licenced Amateur Radio Operator, with this and his IT skills have brought Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI), and Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) to our young people with great enthusiasm.

Andy joined 1st Abram in December 2016 with the determination of giving back to an organisation that gave him so much. Andy is a warm and welcoming people person, who is very approachable by both young people, and parents alike. Why not come and say hello at our next event!

Assistant Cub Scout Leader
Sarah Brown (Keeo)

Having joined Beavers in December 2016, Sarah, then a full-time mum, has since gone on to qualify as a Level 3 Teaching Assistant, working at a local high school! Her dedication to Scouting rings true after she found her love for target sports. Now a qualified Archery and Crossbow Instructor, Sarah enjoys taking groups of all ages and sharing her love for the sports with them.

Assistant Cub Scout Leader
Leeann Shirley (Chil)

Leeann Shirley - Chil

Assistant Cub Scout Leader

Lee-ann has had her son in the group since he was a Beaver, and saw the benefits he gained from the group. When Akela told her that we needed additional leaders in Cubs she jumped at the chance and joined up. Now a key player in the group, Leeann excels at bringing amazing activities to our young people, using her wealth of experience working as a Teaching Assistant with young people with complex needs.

Section Assistant (Cubs)
Tom Williams (Shere Khan)

Tom’s story to follow…


Kirsty Burrows (Hathi)

Scout Leader

Scout Leader – Kirsty Burrows (Hathi)

Kirsty has been a part of 1st Abram for the last 10 years. Like most volunteers, it began when her son started with our Beavers Section. At one Halloween party, Kirsty was asked if she could stay and help, she enjoyed it so much that she began to stay on a weekly basis. As both of her children progressed through the group, Kirsty helped out more and more. Now, Kirsty is our Scouts Section Leader and is watching over, not only her own daughter but other children reaching their full potential in the section.

Assistant Scout Leader
Malc Fleming (Mowgli)

Malc Fleming - Mowgli

Assistant Scout Leader

Malc joined our team as a parent helper on Akela’s first camp. In doing so he found that he was able to explore his love for the outdoors, and hands-on practical skills within Scouting. Malc now finds himself as a key player in skills instruction to our young people and, together with his NRSA Small Bore Rifles Instructor certificate, is able to provide our young people with those key skills. A haulier by trade, there isn’t a knot that Malc doesn’t know!

Section Assistant (Scouts)
Laura Hepworth (Kaa)

Laura’s Story to Follow…

Explorers (Crankwood Firestarters)

Crankwood Firestarters
(7-8:30 pm)

Alhough technically a District Provision, we work very closely with Crankwood Firestarters, and their leaders are also seen regularly throughout our group.

Mike Cleary - Skip

Explorer Scout Leader

Explorer Scout Leader – Mike Cleary

Mike’s Scouting story begins over 30 years ago, when he was a Scout in Widnes. His time as a Scout gave him many great memories, that when he and his family move to Abram over 10 years ago, and he saw a little sign for 1st Abram he knew his youngest son would love it. Mike’s son joined as a Beaver and moved through all of the sections, followed by his daughter a few years later. All 3 (Mike, his Son, and Daughter) love camping, and the friends that they’d made through Scouting will be friends for life.

Mike has been a leader at the group for over 5 years, many of which were spent as Section Leader for Scouts. During that time, our Scout numbers grew and we retained some of the excellent Beavers and Cubs, and with tons of support from the current leadership team, we’ve been able to deliver a diverse and motivating programme. Under Mike’s leadership, the Scouts have been up in the air, underground and completed some amazing land and water adventures.

As the group grew, and our membership aged, it became obvious that we needed to extend the group upwards to form Crankwood ‘Firestarters’ to ensure our young people didn’t leave the Scouting, and were able to continue their experiences. The obvious choice to lead that charge was Mike and he hopes that he can continue the work already done to genuinely inspire and challenge all of our great members.

Assistant Explorer Scout Leader
Lee Burrows

Lee Burrows

Assistant Explorer Scout Leader

Lee’s Story to follow…