Windsor Day of Celebration and Achievement 2024

Windsor Day of Celebration and Achievement 2024

South East Scotland member, Pippa Skinner recently travelled down to Windsor to take part in the Day of Celebration and Achievement with 400 other scouts from across the United Kingdom.

The day itself is an opportunity for The Scout Association to celebrate and highlight the outstanding commitment and achievement of our King’s Scouts, Gallantry and Meritorious award recipients and adult volunteers. We caught up with Pippa to find out more about the journey that started in 2015 and culminated with receiving her King’s Scout Award in 2024.

On 21st April, I was part of the Scottish contingent attending the Day of Celebration and Achievement at Windsor Castle to be awarded my King’s Scout Award.

My journey to Windsor began in 2015 when I joined 122nd Craigalmond (Comely Bank) Scout Troop. With the support of my Scout Leader, Graham Scrimgeour, and the 122nd leadership team, I took part in many activities over my 4 years in the troop. Highlights included going to a Danish Jamboree in 2017, camping (generally in the rain), abseiling, hiking and sailing at Lochgoilhead. With the encouragement of my Group Lead Volunteer, Graeme Robertson, I attended the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia in 2019, which really gave me the appetite to achieve my King’s Scout Award.

Moving up to the Pink Panther Explorer Unit, this opened up new opportunities to continue ticking off the stages for KSA. This included several novel and exciting activities created by Pink Panther Explorer Unit Leader, Fraser Dunmore including camps at Canty Bay and Weymss Firs, while also completing my expeditions and leadership challenges. This all culminated in camping in Finland for 2 weeks in 2022.

My day at Windsor began by meeting other King’s Scout Award holders, which reminded me of the friendships I’ve made across the wider Scouting community and the challenges we have shared in achieving our awards. As the Scottish contingent led the 400 other awardees onto the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle, the sense of occasion and our shared experiences really hit home.

It’s at this point I realised the contribution Scout Leaders make in our development, and particularly the impact Graham, Graeme and Fraser had in developing my #SkillsForLife.

For anyone wondering if they should take on this challenge themselves and become a King’s Scout, I’d say, Just go for it and take advantage of all the opportunities you are offered. It’s all so much easier than you think, and you’ll be proud of what you achieve.

I am now at the University of Exeter, and these skills made my move much easier and helped me to develop new connections and friendships.

Everyone here at South East Scotland Scouts are immensely proud of Pippa and all of the Young People who have worked so hard and achieved so much.

While congratulating Pippa, Fraser Dunmore, Pink Panthers Explorer Scout Unit Leader stated that Pippas’ “proactive approach to seizing every opportunity has resulted in an incredible journey. The life skills you’ve gained are invaluable”. Fraser continued by encouraging “all Explorers and Network members to embrace Scouting opportunities and pursue the King Scout Award challenge!”

122nd Craigalmond (Comley Bank) Group Lead Volunteer, Graeme Robertson noted that “Pippa is the first former Scout from the Comely Bank Scouts in living memory to have achieved the top award in Scouting.  It has been an absolute delight to see her grow from a timid young Scout to a confident young adult, and we were lucky to welcome her back as a Young Leader with our Troop, while she was completing the service elements of her King’s Scout Award.

I often talk to others (both within and outwith Scouting) about Pippa being a shining example of the opportunities Scouting can offer to young people, and the fantastic outcomes that Scouting can help them achieve. It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to have played a small part in supporting her progress through Scouting.”

Chief Scout, Bear Grylls OBE stated that “Our King’s Scouts make us all so proud. They’ve shown the courage, the kindness and the commitment to tackle anything in life, helping others and serving their communities. Not just of this great movement, but of our country too”

Windsor – Take Centre Stage

If, like Pippa, you’ve gained your Queen’s Scout Award or King’s Scout Award why not Take Centre Stage at Windsor Castle?

Each year, we recruit young people and adults to take a leading role in our annual Day of Celebration and Achievement at Windsor Castle.

We’re looking for enthusiastic people who’ll take on lots of exciting and challenging roles at the event. These volunteers make the experience enjoyable for everyone who attends.

The Team of Ten includes six members of the Colour Party, who march with the flags throughout the day, and four members of the Service Planning and Delivery Team, who deliver the National Scout Service in St George’s Chapel.

If you want to find out more or apply for 2025, please click here. The deadline to apply is 31 July 2024.

Jim Kelly Gone Home

Jim Kelly Gone Home

Last month saw the end of an era in Craigalmond District, with the passing on 3 September of Jim Kelly, former District Commissioner of Haymarket District (now Craigalmond) and Assistant Area Commissioner of Edinburgh Area (now SE Scotland Region).

Jim’s Scouting career spanned over 80 years, and a celebration of Jim’s life on 18 September saw dozens of Jim’s former Scouting colleagues come to pay their last respects and share their many fond memories.  At that service, Graham Inglis, a former 10th Haymarket Scout, read a moving tribute to Jim’s Scouting life, a shortened version of which is reproduced below.

Our thoughts are with Jim’s daughter Irene, her husband Harry, and their children David and Emma.

It all began in 1938 when Jim joined the newly formed 9th West Lothian Cub Pack. This channelled Jim’s enthusiasm for outdoor activities and he became their first Senior Sixer.

During the war years, Jim’s service continued with the 3rd West Lothian Scouts, where Patrol Leaders ran the meetings, and the Scouts provided support to the local ARP Wardens and the Home Guard – this led to Jim gaining his National Service Flash and earning his King’s Scout Award.

After a period of National Service at the end of the war, Jim immediately began his career as a Scouter with the 33rd Ayrshire, where he coached his Troop into winning the County Flag Competition again and again.

Jim moved to Aberdeen in 1954 with the Air Ministry works Dept, where he continued his Scouting as Leader of 1st Oakbank Troop, based inside an “approved” school.  In 1961 Jim moved his family to Cyprus, where Jim continued his scouting journey with the 1st Akrotiri, before returning to Scotland in 1965, settling in Edinburgh.

This brought him to the 10th Midlothian based in Corstorphine and during the next 8 years he thoroughly enjoyed bringing his brand of Scouting to his boys. He loved competitions, worked hard to ensure all gained the most they could from Scouting, and continued to develop young people with fun and care.

At his first camp as ‘Skip’ with the 10th at Loch Doon, not far from his old stomping ground, Robert Young, then a Troop Leader, was responsible for the canteen and was almost caught out, having left it at the hall. He just managed to get his sister and her husband to drive it over to camp before canteen call in the afternoon – without it they would have not seen Jim showing off his party piece…

Kenny Berry had got a large bottle of fizzy juice and some sweets and Skip asked him for a swig of his juice. Jim swirled the bottle and the whole lot went down the hatch in a oner – Jim didn’t even burp and Kenny’s Jaw hit the floor! Needless to say, Jim bought him another bottle and Kenny left a happy and amazed lad.

At camps, Jim was always up at first light, hot water on for a cuppa and away for a morning wash in the stream (even if there was a toilet block on site!). On his return he would politely ask you to get up and then open and roll back both ends of the tent and allow the wind to hurtle through. Although a small lesson, one worth learning – get up and enjoy the best part of the day, and Jim always had a brew waiting to get you going!

In 1972 Jim was asked to add to his roles and become District Leader Trainer for Haymarket District. This was a role he loved, helping others to develop their skills and become enthusiastic leaders.  Jim was recognised for his efforts and awarded the Medal of Merit in 1976 and by 1978 was part of the Edinburgh Training Team and the Bonaly Committee.

Having been awarded the Silver Acorn in 1983, he became District Commissioner for Haymarket District in the same year and ran a very successful team of leaders that brought Haymarket to the fore in Edinburgh Scouting.  Jim was responsible for planning and running a particularly memorable event – the Cycleathon, where members and their families cycled round the grounds of Donaldson’s School to complete a marathon and raise money for charities. Jim was first there and last to leave!

In 1988 he took up the role of Edinburgh Area Commissioner General Duties and was a member of the Scottish Training Team.  Jim returned as District Chairman of Haymarket in 1990, running the Executive Committee and encouraging all Groups to play an active part. During this time, he was awarded the Bar to the Silver Acorn and became Honorary Scouter of the 10th Haymarket.

This was a role he truly revelled in, coming and speaking to the young people, attending every AGM, sharing his memories with joy and enjoying the friendship of all the Scouters. He was always encouraging and continually praised the efforts of the Group – ‘no one can do it like the 10th’ Jim was often heard to say!  He also was part of the team making arrangements for the 100th year celebrations, even writing to the Lord Lyon to request the inclusion off EST 1907 on the flag which appropriately covered his coffin earlier today.

Jim was of course a brother to all Scouts, extending his left hand with friendship and openness any time you met him, a trusted pair of hands who treated people with respect and care.

Jim continued in various roles including Chairman of Bonaly Fellowship right up until he retired from active service Aged 81. This sounds like the end but scouting was part of his life for so long Jim was always going to be involved. He remained a supporter through Haymarket Scout Fellowship, Corstorphine Scout Active Support Unit and of course regularly visited the 10th at the Douglas Brown Scout Hall.

Jim loved Burns and he Chaired the Scout Burns night at the Hall for many years – where he kept the honoured guests, Scouts and Executive Committee amused with his irreverent rendition of ‘Tae a Fert’!

In 2014 Jim received the highest award in Scouting, his Silver Wolf – which you can see was wholly warranted; he treasured it and was proud and honoured to wear it.

His letter from the Regional Commissioner fittingly said ‘you have made a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of young people and probably as many adults. You lived by, led by, and insisted on, the highest ideals of Scouting. Your service has been impeccable and your personal values and the standard of your leadership both an example and an inspiration’.

He was of course a Scouter to the end, often telling the staff at Murrayside Care Home when old Scouting friends came to visit, that some of his Scouts were here and they were just going upstairs for a Scout meeting.

Baden Powell said, ‘No one can pass through life, any more than he can pass through a bit of country, without leaving tracks behind, and those tracks may often be helpful to those coming after him in finding their way’.  Jim certainly left tracks for us to follow – not on the ground, but in our hearts, in our integrity, in our respectfulness, in our care for others, in our beliefs, in our voluntary service and in ourselves.

In true Scouting tradition he leaves this world a better place, with many better people across the world to this day following Jim’s example, lessons, guidance and tracks.

No one can ask more of him than that.