End of an era for pair who dedicated lives to scouting

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A MAN who has spent 60 years in the scouting movement – most of them in Daventry – is stepping down.

Bob Wilson, 68, has retired from the 2nd Daventry Scouts after 40 years. Before that he spent 20 years with various groups around the country.

He said: “I joined the cubs in Birmingham when I was eight and I stayed with that scout group until I was in my 20s.”

Mr Wilson, of Daneholm Avenue, moved and joined the Alderley Edge troop for a few years before moving back down south where he ended up with the scouts in Southam in Warwickshire.

It was from here that, after a few years, he moved over to the Daventry group.

Mr Wilson said: “I’ve been a scout leader here all that time.

“I was invited to promote the work of the scouts at the district level, but I didn’t go for that because it would have taken me away from working with the youngsters and teaching them.

“I’ve always loved scouting. These days young people seem to spend most of their time sitting in front of the TV or computer.

“I’ve always loved being outdoors and I like teaching young people about how to live outdoors and the skills they need.

“There’s been a lot of changes during my time. One of the big ones was when they decided to admit girls into the scouts.

“For me that’s been a very positive thing. Our daughter wanted to join, but back then they wouldn’t allow girls so there’s always been a demand for it.

“A big thing for me personally was when I was awarded my silver acorn award for long service, they asked me to lead the St George’s Day parade through the town centre ahead of St George himself on horseback.”

Mr Wilson is joined in his retirement plans by his wife Pauline, 66, who is also stepping down from the 2nd Daventry Scouts after more than 15 years.

They have both received various long service awards over the years in recognition of their dedication to the scouting movement and the young people involved in it.

She said: “I joined in the 1990s when they started letting girls join. I had always been involved before that though.

“I especially like the camping and the fact that we get to teach them so much.

“There was one lad who joined who could have turned into quite a naughty young man. But he’s now a scout leader and he said that Bob was the greatest influence on him turning his life around.”

Mr Wilson said: “They used to make you retire at 65, but they realised it was silly to force people with experience and skills out if they were still fit and healthy, and willing enough to carry on.

“There’s a lot of younger leaders coming through the group now and we thought it was a good time to take a step back and let someone else have a go.”

To mark the Wilsons’ departure the scouts are holding a small celebration to mark the occasion.

Scouts past and present are invited along to the event, at Casey’s Club, off Daventry Market Square, from 6.30pm on Sunday April 17.

For more information contact Ed Hibberd on 01327 872132.