Tuesday, April 29, 2014
A long-serving Cub Scout leader has hung up his scarf after four decades as part of the scouting movement – years which have seen him involved in eight different groups across five counties.
Brian Foulkes, Akela of the 1st Tipton St John Scouts, was treated to a surprise party in typical scouting style around a campfire at the group’s Harpford woodland campsite.
The pack’s new leaders presented him with a set of thank-you gifts including custom whisky tumblers bearing the scout logo and a flag signed by every member of the pack - past and present.
Brain said: “I knew they were going to say ‘thank you’ but it was a big surprise when I saw how many people were there.”
Born in Birmingham, Brian joined the scouting movement as a cub in 1943.
His work as a contracts manager for an aerospace company saw him travel the world, and during his trips overseas, Brian made the effort to experience how scout groups are run abroad.
“I’ve been with scouts on the foothills of the Himalayas, a group in Phoenix, Arizona and visited a Mormon scout troop in Los Angeles,” he said. “But the last three-and-a-half years have been the most satisfying.”
The Newton Poppleford resident served as scout leader with Sidmouth Sea Scouts for four years, a scout leader with 1st Sid Vale Scout Troop for 10 years and played a key role in resurrecting the Tipton cub pack in 2010.
“I will definitely miss it, but I’m 78 in August,” he said. “It’s a big commitment – and I’ve always said you’re either in there doing it properly, or you are out of it.
“Although I’ve not always been active in a leader role, I consider I have been scouting ever since I joined in 1943.
“There is an expression we use in scouting – ‘once a scout always a scout’.”