Sidmouth scouter is made Citizen of the Year

Scouter Brian lost for words after being made Sidmouth’s Citizen of the Year

WHEN he heard he had been made Citizen of the Year 2010, Sidmouth scouter Brian Manwaring was lost for words.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked, I just couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t speak,” he said, after receiving the certificate and glass rose bowl from Sidmouth Rotary chairman David Mason on Wednesday.

Having been told a month ago the public had chosen him to receive the prestigious award, he was then told to keep ‘mum’ until this week’s official announcement at Hotel Riviera, Sidmouth.

Started in 1985 and backed by the Sidmouth Herald and Sidmouth Town Council, there have been 26 recipients of the title Citizen of the Year.

Brian is just the second to have worked with the youth of the Sid Valley.

Lancashire-born Brian, who moved to Sidmouth in 1974, has spent almost his entire life working with scouts and is group scout leader of 1st Sid Vale Sidmouth Scouts.

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Announcing the award, Rotarian behind its organisation, Arthur Passey, welcomed new Sidmouth Town Council chairman, Councillor Stuart Hughes to his first official engagement in the post, and Diana Bowerman, News Editor of the Sidmouth Herald, together with Brian’s wife Linda.

Brian joined the scout movement aged eight and became a Queen’s Scout in his teens.

At 19, as a Rover Scout, he travelled with VSO, working in Pakistan teaching blind children. It earned him a recommendation by the Chief Scout.

He was prompted to become a scouter when his son Stefan joined the cubs, and became scout leader of 17th Stretford Scouts.

Now a self-employed part-time builder, Brian, 66, from Ashley Crescent, thanked Rotarians as he received his award saying: “I am truly honoured and so overwhelmed. I am thrilled and very proud of it, it is quite an honour. I was itching to tell people.”

Since moving to Sidmouth, Brian has been group scout leader for 26 years, which he announced he will give up shortly, and was instrumental in getting an application submitted to build larger headquarters at the activity field it uses at Salcombe Regis, run by the town council, which is trustee.

He and his wife have four children, two of whom are disabled, and they have been involved with the Vranch House School, Exeter, and Dame Hannah Rogers School committee.