Article by Peter Sutherst, Media Development Manager for Bedfordshire Scouts
Chief Scout and international adventurer Bear Grylls blew into Luton Hoo on Sunday by fast car after a fierce gale-force storm grounded his helicopter somewhere in East Anglia. He had left behind his wife Shara and children Huckleberry, Jesse and Marmaduke on his whirlwind tour of the Eastern Region determined not to disappoint hundreds of rain-soaked but enthusiastic Bedfordshire Scouts at a special lakeside adventure weekend set up in his honour. He said,
“Hiyah guys. I’m so pleased to meet you all and see for myself the great job you all do. Your leaders deserve a big cheer for bringing you here to enjoy so many awesome water activities on this super lake.”
He added with a grin as the rain poured down,
“It’s Scouting sunshine! If it ain’t raining it ain’t training!! Well done scouts.”
Within minutes he was down on the jetty meeting Cub Scouts who were learning to kayak. Then it was out on a fast motor boat to meet up with sailing yachts on the water where he greeted surprised novice sailors on their nervous first voyage.
Back on dry land he took time off to award Explorer Scout Harry Smith, 15 from Ampthill and Woburn with a rare bravery award, the Medal for Meritorious Conduct. Harry has had to combat the mobility problems of cerebral palsy all his life. But he found Scouts helped him to conquer many of the problems and he has now been selected for the World Scout Jamboree in Japan in 2015. “It’s just magic,” he says.
Nigel Taylor who headed the organising team said,
“We were all thrilled to have Bear here as part of his Bear in the Air tour and surprised how everyone ignored the stormy weather and just got on with enjoying themselves.”
Two young Sea Scouts who captured the real enthusiasm of Bear Grylls were Hannah Thomas, 12 and Coby Doyle, 13. They had the honour of welcoming their Chief at the gates of the Hoo. They said,
“We got to chat with Bear and he asked us questions about our time in Scouting and what we enjoyed most. He told us the big adventures were still to come and to stick with it.”
Bear’s visit to Bedfordshire was part of a UK-wide tour to encourage many more leaders to come forward to help new Scouts enjoy the fun, adventures and challenge of Scouting. Surrounded by autograph hunters Bear Grylls said,
“There are 38,000 around the UK waiting to join – 472 on the list in Bedfordshire alone. Come on, what’s holding you back? You’ll get just as much pleasure out of the experience as the young people you lead.”
It has also just been announced that Bear Grylls has been appointed to a further term of office as UK Chief Scout, lasting until at least September 2015.