Top award marks dedication to scouting

A MAN who has been a member of the Letchworth and Baldock District Scouts for more than 40 years has been honoured with the highest award in scouting. Bob Williams, of Hawthorn Hill in Letchworth GC, has been awarded the Silver Wolf by the chief scout, Pe

A MAN who has been a member of the Letchworth and Baldock District Scouts for more than 40 years has been honoured with the highest award in scouting.

Bob Williams, of Hawthorn Hill in Letchworth GC, has been awarded the Silver Wolf by the chief scout, Peter Duncan, for his exceptional service to scouting.

He will be presented with the award by county commissioner Ivor Thomas at the Letchworth and Baldock District Scout's annual general meeting at Wymondley Wood Scout and Guide Centre on May 8.

The Silver Wolf award was established in 1911 and has been presented to just 58 other scouters in the county - Mr Williams is only the second person in the Letchworth and Baldock District to receive the award.

Mr Williams, 71, said he first got involved in the scouting movement at the age of 12 in Northamptonshire. In 1954 he was awarded The Queen's Scout Award, which involves successfully completing various challenges.

He left the scouts at 18 to go to university but returned as a leader when his son joined the scouts.

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He has held a number of positions within the Letchworth and Baldock District Scouts, including district commissioner, and is currently chairman of the Wymondley Wood Scout and Guide Centre, and district treasurer.

Mr Williams said his role as district commissioner involved ensuring the District provided good quality scouting for young people, that scouting in the area developed, and that he proactively managed adults in the District. He also said a lot of his role involved encouraging youngsters, and still does.

Asked what he enjoys most about being involved in the scout movement, he said: "I enjoy seeing the youngsters enjoying themselves, and the adults in general are inspiring people."

Mr Williams was instrumental in raising more than £30,000 to refurbish the 11th Letchworth headquarters, in the grounds of Pixmore School, Rushby Mead. He also obtained a substantial grant towards the cost of the District's celebration of the scouting centenary.

It was his fundraising efforts and his leadership of the adults in the county which led to him receiving the Silver Wolf.

He said: "It's a surprise and a really great honour. There are a number of awards for leaders in scouting, but this is the highest and it's a national recognition. Someone will have nominated me but I don't know who it was."

Mr Williams was invited to attend the St George's Day service and parade at Windsor Castle with his wife, Deirdre, on April 20, in recognition of his achievement.

He said: "I first went there to get The Queen's Scout Award and it was rather nice going back there."

Asked what the future holds, Mr Williams said: "Well, I certainly have no plans to retire yet!"

l TO celebrate St George's Day and the centenary of the 1st Baldock Scout Group, more than 500 scouts from Letchworth and Baldock District proudly paraded their colours down Baldock High Street to the Holy Trinity and St Augustine of Canterbury Church on London Road.

During a special service on Sunday, April 20, they were reminded of the importance of scouts and their law and promise and Rob Hemmings, group scout leader at 1st Baldock Scout Group, talked about the start of scouting in Baldock in 1908.

A collection taken during the service will be donated to Home-Start - a charity which supports families with young children.

Baldock scouts will be holding various events throughout the year to celebrate their centenary, including a camp in July when past members and associates will be invited along, and a firework display to mark the end of the landmark year.

Anyone with photographs, articles, memories or anecdotes of scouting in Baldock, email gsl@1stbaldockscoutgroup.org.uk

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