Scouts welcome Bear Grylls to Sidmouth

Adventurer even ‘signed dog’ in kids’ excited autograph frenzy

SCORES of excited Scouts were thrilled to get a flying visit from adventurer Bear Grylls in Sidmouth on Saturday.

More than 600 children and teenagers from across East Devon watched the television personality make a spectacular entrance by helicopter as they enjoyed a weekend of activities.

Despite the rain, Chief Scout Bear was swamped by delighted youngsters in search of an autograph. He was happy to sign scarves, t-shirts, a climbing wall and even a dog.

Fourteen-year-olds Sarah Hill and Alice Tilley, both Explorer Scouts from Sidmouth, greeted Bear and gave him a tour of the camp.

“I gave him my scout scarf and he gave me a hug,” said Sarah, “I can’t wait to update my Facebook status!”

“It was amazing,” said Alice.

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“He was really nice and showed lots of interest, although it was a bit manic at times.”

Bear joined Scouts in a range of activities including archery, rock-climbing and ‘extreme’ trampolining before taking to the skies. Sidmouth was one of 15 places he visited on a tour of the South West aimed at celebrating the importance of the Scouting movement in Devon and encouraging more adult volunteers.

Before leaving the Sidmouth camp Bear told youngsters: “I’ve really enjoyed my visit and being part of your amazing weekend of activities.”

He praised organisers of the fun event.

Paul Gadd, a volunteer Sidmouth scout leader of 20 years, said: “I haven’t seen scouts so excited for a long time! Bear was just a fun guy. He joined in and really engaged with them.

“Volunteering as a Scout leader is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”

Young people enjoyed a live rock band, hog roast and firework display in the evening to round off a memorable day.

The Scouting Movement says it is “desperate” for more adult volunteers. Waiting lists to join Scouts in Devon total 800 hopefuls.