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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 19:50 GMT
Leaders 'too old' for girls group
Sue Dryden (left) and Rosina Matthews
Parents have organised a petition in support of the pair
A girls' group in Leicestershire could close after its leaders were told they were too old to run it.

Sue Dryden and Rosina Matthews have run the Rainbows group at Woodhouse Eaves, which takes five to seven-year-olds, for more than 10 years.

According to Girlguiding UK rules, leaders must be 64 or under to run the sessions and both turn 65 this year.

The pair have said they are struggling to find replacements and would prefer to stay on in their roles.

Ms Dryden, who is 65 in March, said she had put decades into helping children.

"I started the group and we have seen them come up and up and up, sisters after sisters after sisters. It is going to be so different.

"Before I did Rainbows for 10 years I ran my own group for 23 years - I just love working with kids."

'Big insult'

Ms Matthews said: "You have to do courses to be properly accredited and by the time I would have done the courses I'll be 65.

"I am 65 at the end of the year, so there is no point."

Parents who take their children to the group have sent a petition to the Guiding Association calling for it to waive the age limit rule.

Parent Emma Pattison said: "These two ladies have done a lot of service for the local community and it is a big insult to say that just because they have turned 65 they are not capable of looking after our children.

"I think the key thing is that we trust them with our children."

Girlguiding UK said they wanted to keep the organisation relevant and leaders within a defined age range were easier for younger people to relate to.

It added however that those over 65 could still take part as volunteers.

Sue Dryden runs the Rainbows group in Woodhouse Eaves in Leicestershire

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