Jan 27

Champion Scouters

Over 50 adults from across the district came together to celebrate our amazing adult volunteers at our Champion Scouters awards evening at the end of January. Fifteen adults had been nominated as local Champion Scouters. These are adults who have made a significant impact in Harborough District over the last two years. We also celebrated with three Scout Association Commendations for Good Service and three Awards for Merit. These are National awards for very good and exceptional service over the last 5 and 12 years.

Ed Stafford, Scouting Ambassador joined us with an inspirational talk about his Amazon adventure before presenting the awards.

The citations for our Champion Scouters follow. There are separate posts for Commendations and Awards of Merit.

Erin Billington  – Gang Show 2016 Director
Nominated by – Milly Pinnock
Erin did a fabulous job directing the 2016 Gang Show. It was a great production in the end, and that was mostly down to her putting in an absolutely massive amount of work and energy. I know it involved a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears, but wanted her to know that her input made a huge difference to my kids; and that Kezia in particular is now a much more confident child because of her.


Will Panter  – Assistant Explorer Leader Mad Hatters ESU
Nominated by – Tina Taylor
Despite being involved in scouting in Harborough District for many years, Will rarely gets recognised for his achievements. Partly this is because he is happy to let others take the lime light but it is also a reflection on what a great scouter he is.  Where others like to shout about their achievements, Will just gets on with delivering amazing scouting experiences.

I first got to know Will as a member of both the local Network and the Leicester Scout and Guide First Aid Team, LeFAT, and was impressed by his willingness to get involved and undertake whatever jobs were required. As a first aider he has been part of the Charnwood team and also undertook the responsibility for first aid on our 2009 Scout trip to Kandersteg.  It was during this trip that plans were hatched to set up a new District Explorer Unit and Will seemed like a perfect candidate for a leader role.  Paul Allenby said that, “Will would never go into uniform!” but somehow the magic of Switzerland  and time just ‘helping out’ at the Hatters seemed to persuade him.

Will has been an integral part of the Mad Hatters team from day one.  It would take too long to list all the amazing experiences he has facilitated for the Explorers but suffice to say whether it is a greenfield camp in the snow in January, Bronze DofE practice expeditions in April, 24 hours of daylight on Summer camp in Iceland, organising Unit nights in October or selling burgers at Late Night shopping, Will is truly is a Scouter for all seasons.   The Mad Hatters Explorers all appreciate the commitment he has shown to the unit over the years.

Gina Spencer – Assistant Beaver Leader 3rd Market Harborough
Nominated by –  Paul Allenby
Gina works tirelessly for 3rds. She does much of the preparation for both Beaver Sections, keeps all the records and is a much loved and highly regarded Beaver Leader by all who know her. She also helps with the record keeping and badges for Hurst Scouts, and has been very involved in running the Santa Sleigh for the past few years. She is an all round absolute star!


Aaron Winterton  – Beaver Leader 1st Foxton
Nominated by  –  Neil Heptonstall
A couple of years ago our Beaver leader team were retiring and Aaron stepped up and, within weeks, had successfully ‘taken over’ the colony with some new assistant leaders. She really loves the Beaver ethos and the colony and leader team thrive with her enthusiasm. A sleepover at the Space Centre and riding our Aerial runway did not daunt her enthusiasm! She continues to inspire both children and adults and the colony thrives to this day.

Iain Dilley  – Exec Member (Fundraising) 1st Welland Valley
Nominated by – Gary Chisholm
Iain is one of those parents, who dread the thought of becoming a leader and dealing with all those children! (but he always expressed an admiration of those who could). Knowing Iain was a bit of a dealer, to which my extensive knowledge is limited to Lovejoy and Delboy, I asked if Iain could support the group in its fundraising efforts. Iain jumped at the chance and became our fundraising team! Under his guidance we have made many successful bids for equipment, made some fantastic contacts and also he manages the running of our two larger fundraising events, AYUPMEDUCK and Santa’s Sleigh. He leads on these projects with a positive and organised manner and succeeded in fundraising well over £5000 for our group already! When I look at all our equipment , I think we would not have this, if not for Iain.

Jo Osborne  – Scout Leader 1st Bowdens WeScouts
Nominated by – Helen McGeachy
Jo’s kindness and dedication to making sure everyone achieves the same in their scouting journey regardless of what disability they may have, is unwavering. There has never been a moment when she has given up on my son Callum, or lost faith in his ability to achieve the same as any other scout in his group – even when we have had some tough times. Scouting has turned a child for which at one point we had little faith in being able to function in normal peer settings, into a teenager who has purpose and pride in himself. Jo over the last 4 years has had a very large part in shaping the young man we have today.

Rob Pyle  – Scout Leader 1st Market Harborough
Nominated by – Gary Duffin
Rob took over the scout section about 2 years ago after the last leader had to leave. He had little experience of scouting but has really made it happen for the scouts and is now seeing an increase of numbers., which is a testament to the exciting and  engaging programme.


Catherine Hedgecott  – Beaver Leader 1st Welland Valley
Nominated by – Gary Chisholm
Running a section is tough. Running a new section is tougher, so imagine setting up a new Colony in a new group!

Catherine has been a cornerstone of the group and very rapidly demonstrated a thoroughness and attention to detail we should all try and aspire to. She leads other adults and Young Leaders on the beavers team with a well organised and inclusive hand. Catherine was the first of the Welland Valley joiners to complete her Wood Badge training, and also leads a full section, with a growing waiting list, a sure sign of a quality programme.

The vast majority of Beavers move up having completed their Bronze Chief Scout Award, and are keen for more as they join the Pack.

Ian Humphrey – Cub Leader 1st Great Glenn
Nominated by – Phil Reed

On 18th December Ian bade farewell to Great Glen Cub section as Akela – a day that will be written in the history of the Group, because quite simply 1st Great Glen runs through Ian like a stick of rock.

Ian joined as a Cub at age 8 and in the early seventies he became Assistant Cub Leader working with Pauline and Bob Wells for many years. Ian was a constant with the Cub section while other Leaders came and went, then in the 90s Ian moved up to be Assistant Leader with the Scout section.

Just over 10 years ago, with a bit of ‘arm twisting’, Ian stepped up to become Akela and take our Group towards 100 years.

Ian has always been there for the group, supporting our sections, driving the minibus, tidying our HQ, putting up the District marquee. One job where he is the ultimate champion is with camp toilets – always there with his marigolds and a loo brush.

Ian has helped shape the lives of hundreds of young people over his 40+ years as a Leader.  Sometimes perhaps a little frightened by that booming voice, Cubs and Scouts certainly know when Ian was around and they had done something wrong or mischievous!  Equally if they wanted some help or support, they knew who they could turn to.

It is impossible to sum up the effort that Ian has put in over so many years, but quite simply if Scouting was a paid role, Ian would be a millionaire. Ian’s work and dedication is priceless, and Great Glen Scout Group would not be in the strong position it is today without his leadership, commitment and support.

Ian is staying around to support the Group until he moves to Lincolnshire. From ALL past and present at Great Glen, around our District and County, thank you Ian and we salute you.

Ivan O’Dell  – Assistant Cub Leader 1st Fleckney
Nominated by – Cathy Howells
Ivan has been with 1st Fleckney Cubs since 2012. He has consistently and reliably supported the pack and group since then, providing some amazing sessions in particular on astronomy, martial arts and air activities. He has a great relationship with Cubs, maintaining discipline but ensuring a fun atmosphere. I would love to see him rewarded for his commitment and for being such an amazing Leader.

Laura Grist  – Assistant Explorer Leader Inclined ESU
Nominated by – Toby Taylor
I nominate Laura in recognition of her vital role in offering a fantastic programme for Explorer Scouts in the Harborough  District.  Since responding to a request for new volunteers, Laura has thrown herself into her role and quickly become a key member of both the Inclined and District teams.  Along with Chris Pillar, she has enabled members of Inclined ESU to experience a full and varied scouting programme.

Although not having any previous scouting experience, Laura has proved herself to be a natural Explorer Leader.  She maybe more softly spoken than others but her calm demeanour, willingness to try new things and determination has meant she is great with our oldest youth members.

This was particularly evident during the District trip to Croatia in 2017.  A first summer camp with 27 explorers, average temperatures of 36oC and a variety of physically demanding activities was certainly not an experience for the faint hearted. As part of the leadership team, Laura wind surfed, snorkelled, kayaked, biked and never seemed to tire.  Whether it was marshalling the kitchen at 7am or removing sea urchin spines from feet, she was always ready to get involved.

The Explorers are lucky to have leaders like Laura and I look forward to seeing where she takes Inclined in 2018.

Anna Harbidge – Beaver Leader 1st Kibworth
Nominated by – Simon Riley
Anna Harbidge has been a key leader in driving the beaver colonies at Kibworth including creation of a new colony. Working with other leaders she is very energetic (and planned) in delivering a quality and fun programme for the Beavers. Her personality makes parents want to help on the parent rota and making the start of the scouting journey, both for the youngster and parent smooth. She will be missed by the Group. However, we thank her for all she has contributed.

David Sawford  – Group Scout Leader 1st Bowdens
Nominated by – Hannah Dove and Chris Cunningham
Whatever I write here will in no way describe how awesome he is! As GSL Dave has not just influenced my life he has also inspired every scout and me, to reach for the top. Dave has a great rapport with the leaders. He encourages and supports them through the leadership journey. His commitment to the group is exemplary. Recently Dave has been doing a great job in planning and fundraising for our new hut ensuring the continuing success of the group and ensuring young people at Bowdens can continue to enjoy the benefits of scouting. We will be very sad to see Dave go as our GSL, he will be a hard act to follow.

David Sawford is the epitome of an ‘unsung hero’ and absolutely nails each element of the criteria that are required for this award!  I have been involved with this Scout group for only just under a year, in that time I appear to have only just scratched the surface on understanding exactly what efforts and sacrifices David makes to ensure that we all keep the groups ambitions, focus and momentum going.  He has fulfilled this role so well for 5 years now, with profound gusto and dedication…  Champio’nay champio’nay!

Tina Taylor  – Explorer Leader Mad Hatters ESU
Nominated by – Debbie Billington
Nights away are a big part of scouting. In Harborough District during 2016 and  2017, young members and adults completed 6,401 nights away. Everyone who leads a nights away event for young people needs a Nights Away Permit. The permit holder is ultimately responsible for the camp and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all participants.  We have 40 permit holders in the district and 25 of them used their permit at least once over the last two years.

Counting up the Nights Away Notification forms, those 25 led a total of 99 camps.  So these are adult volunteers who not only give their time each week to run section meetings but their weekends too for camps.  This is a really significant commitment especially when you add in the hours of preparation, getting kit returned, thoroughly dried and made ready for the next adventure.

Out of the 99 nights away events, Tina Taylor, our Nights Away Champion, led an amazing 13 events, including one international to Croatia, giving 760 nights away for explorers from across the district. This is an amazing commitment from a truly Champion Scouter.

Sam Gibbs – Explorer Leader Dragon ESU
Nominated by – Debbie Billington
Adventurous activities are a big part of scouting.  To lead or supervise an adventurous activity for young people you must hold the right permit.

The permit holder is ultimately responsible for the activity especially ensuring the safety of all participants. We have 21 permit holders in the district, with 18 Hillwalking permits and one each of Archery, Climbing & Abseiling, Rafting, Dingy and Power Boating.

Our Adventurous Activity Champion Scouter is the permit holder who led the most activity days for youth members over the last two years. Sam Gibbs supervised on an amazing 10 days hillwalking which has meant explorers and network members were able to complete their DofE expeditions including some at Gold level.  That is a tremendous chunk of all the activity days within Harborough District.  Thank you Sam, Champion Scouter.


Harborough – a winning team! Empowered and Proud



Jan 05

District Shooting Club – Postponed

Unfortunately the district shooting club will be taking an enforced break for a couple of months, after which it will resume in an alternative venue.

Our apologies for the short notice, but watch this space for updates about the new arrangements, and please pass this message along to anyone who may not be aware.

Yours in Scouting

Harborough District Scouts

Dec 04

District Shooting Contest Results

Another great Shooting competition at Kibworth Shooting Ground on Sunday 3 December with 31 Scouts and 7 Explorers taking part. Masterminded by Gary Chisholm, with Phil Reed overseeing scores, the day went really well with the support of Kibworth Gun Club and several leaders from across the district who helped supervise.

Top Scoring Scout overall was won by Rory Richardson, 1st Welland Valley

Top Scoring Explorer overall was won by Maya Hayer, Mad Hatters ESU

Scout Team placings:
1st   1st Welland Valley
2nd  1st Bowdens
3rd   1st Great Glenn

Explorer team placings
1st     Lynx ESU
2nd    Inclined ESU
3rd     Mad Hatters ESU

The full set of results are below. The date for next year – 2nd December 2018 is already on the district diary!


                                                                  Pistol        Springer   PCP                  Overall        Pos

1. Jacob Pinnock               3rd MH           66.00          64.21         58.25               188.46          10th

2. Isaac Turner-Henke      3rd MH           64.00          56.00         30.13               150.13          20th

3. Oscar Kelham               Kib                 74.00          55.21         48.18                177.39         13th

4. Ross Macefield              Kib                 30.00          54.21         30.10                114.31         27th

5. Oliver Steed                   Kib                 44.00          25.03         41.15               110.18          29th

6. Toby Hirst                      Kib                 46.00          27.08         33.06               106.14          31st

7. Joe Laywood                  Kib                 35.00          37.03         35.05               107.08          30th

8. Charlie Turner                Kib                 72.00          81.39         61.16               214.55           5th

9. Toby Ritson-Elliott        Bow                 79.00          72.22         67.80               219.02          4th

10 .Callum Barwick           Bow                79.34           62.00         51.90               193.24          8th

11. Ellen Cooper                Bow                 66.00           74.33         68.31               208.64          6th

12. Jake Cotton                  Bow                 76.00           24.80         56.13               156.93         19th

13. Ben Bransby                 Bow                 79.31           53.00         34.00               166.31         17th

14. Tara Hayer                   GG                   84.40           77.21         21.00               182.61         12th

15. Gurleen Hayer             GG                   72.28            26.20         49.00               147.48         22nd

16. Joe Burnham                GG                  76.29             73.24         40.00               189.53          9th

17. Ethan Coleman             GG                   51.00             52.21        46.00                149.21       21st

18. Eddie Hawes                 GG                   53.00             42.13        39.07                134.20       24th

19. Stephen Humphrey      GG                   42.00             42.16        33.05                117.21       25th

20. Daniel Greiff                 GG                   60.00             62.26        47.15                169.41      16th

21. Fergus Hanna               Fox                   49.00             76.22         48.08               173.30      15th

22. Thomas Bootheway      Fox                   67.00             52.10         47.16               166.26      18th

23. Thomas Davis               Fox                   60.00             30.09          23.07              113.16       28th

24. Edward Davey               Fox                  44.00             71.27          28.07              143.34      23rd

25. William Abbott            Fox                    37.00             74.34           62.00            173.34       14th

26. Gabe Huxley                WV                    62.00             15.05           39.08            116.13       26th

27. Rory Richardson         WV                    72.00             96.45           87.33            255.78        1st

28. Jess Cole                       WV                    71.00             76.28           72.29            219.57        3rd

29. Joe Whitworth             WV                    80.00              71.31           34.14            185.45      11th

30. Ellie Wykes                   WV                     84.00              81.38          43.18             208.56       7th

31. Nic Wood                       Fle                   72.00              89.37          75.29             236.66       2nd



             Pistol                                               Springer                                          PCP

1st  Tara Hayer       GG   84.40           1st Rory Richardson WV 96.45      1st Rory Richardson WV 87.33

2nd Ellie Wykes       WV  84.00           2nd Nic Wood           FL   89.37        2nd Nic Wood             FL   75.29

3rd Joe Whitworth  WV  80.00            3rd  Charlie Turner   Ki    81.39           3rd Jess Cole            WV  72.29




1st Rory Richardson    WV 255.78                         1st Welland Valley  869.36

2nd Nic Wood                FL   236.66                        2nd Bowden            787.21

3rd Jess Cole                 WV 219.57                       3rd Great Glen        668.83

4th Toby Ritson Elliott BO  219.02                           4th Foxton               656.24

5th Charlie Turner        KI  214.55                            5th Kibworth           616.43


EXPLORERS                                           Pistol             Springer          PCP             Overall   Pos

William Hamill               Dragons               68.00              91.44               75.24           234.68     4th

Maaya Hayer                   MH                    83.00              91.42               86.23           260.65     1st

Callum Jackson               MH                    58.00              83.39               43.16           184.55     7th

Phil Chisholm                  Lynx                   63.00              82.35               67.25           212.60     5th

Daniel Hedgecott             Lynx                   82.00              90.44               82.37           254.21     2nd

Jess Reynolds                  Inclineds           47.00              67.17               79.33           193.50      6th

Sam Arnold                     Inclined               84.00              91.39               78.33           253.72      3rd



              Pistol                                                   Springer                                 PCP

1st Sam Arnold          Inc   84.00           1st William Hamil DR  91.44          1st Maaya Hayer      MH 86.23

2nd Maaya Hayer      MH  83.00             2nd Maaya Hayer  MH 91.42          2nd Daneil Hedgecott LY 82.37

3rd Daniel Hedgecott LY   82.00             3rd Sam Arnold     Inc   91.39         3rd Jess Reynolds       Inc 79.33



1st Maaya Hayer         MH   260.65                                1st LYNX  YL          467.41

2nd Daniel Hedgecott   LY    254.21                                2nd INCLINED       447.22

3rd Sam Arnold            Inc    253.72                               3rd MAD HATTER 445.20

Oct 31

District Dodgeball Competition

On Sunday 11th October 50 Scouts (8 Teams) and 10 Explorers (2 Teams) came together at Harborough Leisure Centre for a Tournament in the fast growing sport known as Dodgeball.

The event was organised by James Civil of Harborough Hurricanes Dodgeball.

Eight Scout teams contested in two round robin groups of four with each team in each group playing the other teams for three two minute games. Three points for a win and one for a draw.

Then all eight teams were involved in play offs for the final positions from first to eighth.

Hope you are keeping up with it all so far!

A fiercely contested final was duelled out over the best of 5 games, with eventual winners Great Glen Hurricanes defeating Great Glen Lightning.

Then the pace of the game got even faster as the Mad Hatters Explorers took on the might of the Lynx Welland Valley Young Leaders. The Mad Hatters ended up the eventual winners.

After these tournaments the Scouts and Explorers had ‘crazy’ Last Man Stands tournaments, followed by a Last Man Stands for Leaders and Parents!

Our thanks to James for organising such a fun and fast flowing event, and also to Ben Lowen from Hinckley District who came to help with refereeing.

In true Scouting spirit, Sportsmanship and Handshaking in victory and defeat were the order of the day. And prizes were also awarded for Sportsmanship.

Congratulations to ALL who took part, and we can’t wait for the next one. Perhaps an Inter District County Tournament, or even at the next Charnwood!

Phil Reed, Tournament Organiser

Oct 12

Summit 17 Outcomes


On Tuesday 3 October, 22 volunteers from across the district met to give their feedback on The Scout Association’s Draft Strategic plan for 2018-2023 as well as priorities for development in Harborough District.

The Draft plan is available from the members website and was also distributed with your invitation to join the Summit meeting.




Overall the participants thought that the Draft Strategic plan:

Had identified the right priorities for young people already in scouting
But that they were not the right priorities for young people not yet in scouting. The Draft plan does not go far enough in extending our reach, especially into underrepresented communities.
They thought it did not identify the right priorities for adult volunteers already in scouting but that it did for the wider community.
When asked if they were in support of the proposed plan the vast majority neither agreed or disagreed.



In terms of which of the 17 proposed initiatives were most exciting, the meeting voted for:
First:       Uniform Review by 2023 starting with explorers
Second:  Improve the volunteer journey – Transform adult recruitment
Third:      Focus on developing amazing section leaders with practical scouting skills




Then asked which of the 17 initiatives they would prioritise to complete first:
First:       Improve the volunteer journey – Transform Adult recruitment
Second:  Delivery of a quality programme – Focus on developing amazing section leaders with
                practical scouting skills
Third:      Extend our reach – reach more underrepresented communities



We then considered various priorities for Harborough District over the next five years. Here they are with the most popular first:
Support the expansion of the district with particular regards to premises. (9)
Improve the operation of the Young Leaders Scheme. (8)
Search for and establish a district campsite. (8)
Refocus the role of ADCs to planning and facilitating elements of the programme that individual sections find hard to offer or complete. (6)
Rethink HAISNOs – revert to separate district meetings and separate sectional meetings. (5)
More Nights Away Permit holders; at least one per section. (4)
Refocus the role of the ADCs to provide more “in section” support rather than “across district”. (3)
Increase the number of training advisers. (3)
Open new Groups. (3)
Promote scouting locally as providing skills for life. (3)
Establish district scout/PL and explorer forums (2)
Open additional sections as existing groups. (1)
Improve programme quality and breadth across all sections – measured by more Chief Scout Awards achieved. (1)



I have submitted the feedback on the Draft Strategic Plan to Gilwell and that on our own local priorities will be used in drawing up our own district development plan. Thank you to those of you who gave up yet another evening for scouting. It was good to get some grass roots feedback to direct our future efforts from our amazing volunteers – who really make the difference.


Debbie Billington, District Commissioner



Jun 26

Fraser Shield 2017


Griffendens patrol from 1st Bowdens has won the decades-old Fraser Shield for 2017. It was another very closely-fought competition against troops from across the Harborough District, camping at Overstone Scout Campsite near Northampton over the weekend.

Now in its 105th year, the Shield is awarded annually to the team of scouts who stacks up the most points for their camping skills, including pitching and striking tents, cooking all meals, keeping their site clean, tidy and hygienic and most important team work.

The weather was fine and dry throughout the camp making perfect conditions for the teams to show off their skills.

The presentation of the impressive Fraser Shield to Griffenden was made by Mr Richard Brooks, as President of Harborough District Scouts. The winning team also received The Turner Treasure, a new prize box full of outdoor gadgets and equipment for the scouts to use over the year ahead. Mark Turner, a former District Chairman, was a keen supporter of the Fraser Shield.

Clodagh Jackson, patrol leader of the Harry Potter Gryffindor inspired Bowden patrol said “Griffenden’s winning means the world to me and my team. A big part of our success, I think, was how well we all came together and used our different strengths to make a super team. I watched and supported the younger scouts develop their scouting skills, and I am unbelievably proud of them. Winning the Fraser Shield and receiving the Patrol Treasure box in memory of Mark Turner was an honour and the pinnacle of my time as a scout.”

During the weekend, the 10 teams also competed in wide game for Adam’s Challenge. Cracking codes to follow a series of clues led the teams to collect all the items to make a cup of tea for the judges. It was the A Team from 3rd Market Harborough Scouts who received the Adam’s Challenge Shield for the highest team score.

In presenting the Shield, Dave Mugridge explained that the challenge is in memory of his son Adam, a Foxton scout who was killed in a cycling accident just before he was set to lead his Patrol at Fraser Shield in 2006.

Debbie Billington, lead scout volunteer for Harborough District explained, “Although the Fraser Shield Camping Competition is the longest running scout patrol camping competition in the world, it is just as relevant today in teaching vital life skills including responsibility and team work as it was 105 years ago. It’s all part of our scouting adventure.”


Position  Score     Patrol

1st           1028       1st Bowdens Griffenden
2nd          1024       1st Bowdens McBowdens
3rd           1003       3rd Market Harborough The A Team
4th             986        1st Bowdens The Beefeaters
5th             965        1st Foxton Wolves
6th             935        1st Market Harborough Mudsliders
7th             932        1st Foxton Cobra
8th             914        1st Great Glen Eagles
9th             738        1st Fleckney The Groundhogs
10th          669        1st Fleckney Bulls


Adam’s Challenge Scores:

Position   Score       Patrol
1st             95            3rd Market Harborough The A Team (11)
2nd            65           1st Bowdens The Beefeaters (1)
3rd            60            1st Bowdens McBowdens (12)
4th            55             1st Foxton (4)
5th            45             1st Great Glen Eagles (10)
6th            35             1st Market Harborough (9)
7th=          25             1st Fleckney (2)
7th=          25             1st Foxton (8)
7th=          25             1st Bowdens Griffenden (3)
10th         15              1st Fleckney (7)


1Beefeaters 2Fleckney 4FoxtonWolves 8FoxtonCobra 10GlenEagles 12McBowdens 91MHMudsliders7Fleckney


Apr 24

St George Celebrations 2017

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Over 300 Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers Network and adult volunteers from Harborough District’s Groups and Units held their annual St George’s Day Celebrations in the Sunday sunshine.Sat in hall

It started with a parade led by the Oadby & Wigston and Thurmaston Scout Bands through the ceSt Georges parade infront of churchntre of Market Harborough.

At Welland Park Academy, they listened to some inspirational stories from a King’s Scout, the Reverend John Morley and from the District’s latest Queen’s Scout Hannah Dove. Hannah took centre stage for the morning, not only leading the parade with the Queen’s colours but also a small team of scouts and explorers to devise and present the celebrations.

All the beavers, cubs, scouts and explorers who have gained their Chief Scout’s Award over the last year were recognised and congratulated.  Everyone renewed their Promise to do their best and then watched a skit featuring the best of British icons: HM Queen, Shakespeare, Churchill, Lennon and Hermione Granger, devising the scout law to ensure that we get the most fun out of being responsible citizens.

After a campfire song, attention was turned to how fortunate we are to be British and the responsibility we have for helping other people, focussing on the work of WaterAid

Hannah concluded the event with a reflection from Baden-Powell about happiness and challenged everyone to be the reason behind someone-else’s smile today.  It wParade on corner blossomas then time for hot dogs all around!

Janet Ackerley, Chairman of Harborough District Council who attended the event commented on how much fun it was and that she had really enjoyed it.


Scouting is shaped by young people in partnership with adults and we are always looking for new volunteers and if you fancy a go why not join our Harborough District adventure.Gold DofE awards

Apr 24

Hannah Dove has her greatest adventure yet!

HannahHannah Queens Colour

Hannah Dove, a motivated adventure seeking Scout from Harborough District has just achieved her Queen’s Scout Award. This 19 year old from Harborough who is the District Youth Commissioner has been involved in Scouts for over 10 years.

In order to receive the Award she had to complete a variety of challenges including:  volunteering as a young leader at 1st Bowden Arapaho Cubs; training for and competing in the Market Harborough Triathlon in a time of just over the hour; she leaned to drive, passing her test with just two minors; she completed a four day three night expedition in the Pennines and Durham Dales; ran a series of Cub meetings on the theme of UNICEF and children’s rights, wrote a report on footpath erosion in Dovedale and knitted teddy bears for ‘Teddies for Tragedies.’

The accomplishment of this award takes self-discipline, leadership and achievement in activities, interests and community service. Hannah said: this award was hard work but I enjoyed every minute of the challenge, welRev John Morleyl maybe not the wild camp on the expedition but I was very proud of my triathlon time as a complete beginner.

Debbie Billington, lead scout volunteer for Harborough District said: Hannah is a truly amazing young person that has grasped all the opportunities available from scouting. She demonstrates what scouting is all about – which is to actively engage and support young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society.

Bear Grylls said it best: ‘Every child has a right to have an adventure. Life is about grabbing opportunities. The prizes don’t always go to the biggest, the best and strongest—they go to those who persevere. These are simple life lessons that Scouting teaches people.’

Everyone in Scouting would like to say a massive well done to Hannah on completing this amazing adventure.

Hannah queens scout award

Apr 23

Champion Young Leaders

Champion young leaders awardsEvery week, across the district, our Explorer Young Leaders help to run beaver, cub and scout sections.  Some have been doing this for over 3 years and provide invaluable support to the leadership team and programme.

In recognition of their commitment and determination, Hannah Dove, our Youth Commissioner  asked leaders to nominate those that continually go over and above expectations as Champion Young Leaders.

To be Champions, they need to have been a young leader for at least a year, regularly attending meetings and camps with their section and have completed Young Leader training modules.

Today, at our St George’s Day Celebrations, six Young Leaders were recognised as Champions and were awarded a certificate and St George fleur de lis pin badge:



Matt Arkwright  1st Bowdens TuScouts

Henry Smith  3rd MH Kingfisher Beavers

Jonah Geddes  1st Kibworth Whirlwind Beavers

Fergus Longley  1st Market Harborough Cubs

George Leete  1st Market Harborough Cubs

Daisy Pierce    1st Bowdens Apache Beavers


Read on below for their individual citations.


Name:                    Matt Arkwright

Member of:            Dragon ESU

Young Leader at:     1st Bowdens TuScouts

Matt has been a Young Leader with us for the past three years.  During his time with us he’s shown commitment and enthusiasm for his role.  He seldom misses a week and is often the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. Unlike most Explorers he is not volunteering as Young Leader with us in order to complete the volunteering element of the D of E Awards, he is simply there for the love of Scouting. He uses his own initiative, anticipating the equipment required for an activity and getting it ready before being asked. He has given up his weekend and supported Bowdens Scouts on several camps. As he is studying countryside management at college he has several transferable skills that he brings to Scouting.  At our recent Winter Camp, under the supervision of a Leader, he led the axes and saws activity.

Matt is confident planning and running meetings, last year, using his knowledge learnt in GCSE Astronomy, he planned and led the activities enabling the Scouts to achieve the Astronomy Activity Badge.  He will also be planning the last meeting before Easter, which is going to be an Easter egg hunt with a difference!

He is very popular with the Scouts, it has to be said that they enjoy the banter too!  Some comments from out senior Scouts include:

“Matt always makes our meetings really fun and thinks up different and interesting things to do,” Esme (APL.)

“Matt always makes us laugh,” Clodagh (SPL.)

Nominated by Sue Dove, Assistant Scout Leader, 1st Bowdens TuScouts


Name:                    Henry Smith

Member of:            Inclined ESU

Young Leader at:     3rd Market Harborough Kingfisher Beavers

Henry Smith has been helping at 3rd Market Harborough Kingfisher Beavers for several years now.Henry

I should explain that I am not a leader with Kingfishers but with Mallard Beavers. However, as they are currently without a Section Leader I thought I would nominate on Kingfishers’ behalf.

I asked the previous section leader, Sheila Seaton for details of what he has done for the group and she was able to help me fill in the details!

Henry has been helping at Kingfishers since he was 14 which is more than 2 years now; both when it was on a Saturday morning and now on a Tuesday evening. He has always been very much part of the team, leading craft activities and games. He always works well with the leaders, other Explorers and of course the Beavers themselves, and he has accompanied the group on several sleepovers and day trips. As Henry has matured he has taken on more responsibility for the colony activities. He is a kind, honest and loyal young man, a perfect representation of a true Scout.

Nominated by Milly Pinnock, ABSL 3rd Market Harborough Mallard Beavers


Name:                    Jonah Geddes

Member of:            Dragon ESU

Young Leader at       Kibworth Whirlwind Beavers

Jonah Geddes is a Young Leader at Whirlwind Beavers in Kibworth. He has been working with the section since September 2015. Jonah has worked hard to Jonahundertake all his training and modules for his young leader buckle, attends camps and is the Colony’s nominated “games master!”

Anna Mousley was the Leader there when Jonah started and tells me that Jonah is “a star!”

One of the Leaders, Gordon Macdonald stated, “He is a great addition to the team. He has recently taken on the responsibility of running all the games and is getting a good library of games to play at short notice. We can rely on him if we have a spare few minutes to come up with, and run, a game the boys enjoy. He has been to the John’s Lee Wood camp last year with the Beavers, and took great delight in helping light and maintaining the campfire.  Last, but no mean least, when we held our Beavers Burns Supper he wore a kilt for the first time. So, I would agree with Anna that he is a star”.

In addition to his role with the Beavers, Jonah is also a keen helper at the County Sailing Base at Roundhill Sailing Club and plans and runs meetings for the Dragon Explorer Unit.

Nominated by Sam Gibbs, Explorer Scout Leader


Name:                    Fergus Longley & George Leete

Member of:            Dragon ESU

Young Leader at       1st Market Harborough CubsGeorgeFergus

George has been a Young Leader with the 1st Market Harborough Cub Pack since April 2013 and was quickly joined by Fergus. During a period of transition with new Leaders, the 2 Young Leaders became a very proactive team, running games and parts of the programme while the new Leaders found their feet. I regularly received very positive feedback from Mark Turner who was the GSL there before he sadly passed away, telling me what an asset they were to the group.

This sentiment is echoed by Gary Duffin who is the Leader of the 1st Market Harborough Cub Pack who tells me they are both reliable and get involved in what the Cubs are doing.

Fergus turned 18 in February and has decided to take on a role as Assistant Leader with the Pack.

George and Fergus have certainly worked hard over the last 4 years and whilst they never seek any thanks or recognition, they certainly deserve it.

Nominated by Sam Gibbs, Explorer Scout Leader


Name:                    Daisy Pierce

Member of:            Dragon ESU

Young Leader at       1st Bowdens Apache BeaversDaisy

Daisy Pearce has been a young leader with 1st Bowden Beavers for three and a half years – initially supporting the Comanche Beavers for about six months then moving to Apache Beavers where she has remained.

Other than when she has been studying for her exams she has attended every session. Daisy has grown in confidence during this time and is an absolute asset. As soon as she arrives she gets involved: helping children who are unsure; setting up games; organising the activities for the session and dealing with any upsets as they occur. Whenever she is able to, Daisy will attend a beaver camp and is on the go the whole time. She is someone all of the adult leaders know we can rely on at all times.

During her time with us, Daisy has completed her D of E awards and has also represented the district at the World Jamboree in Japan.

She is now off to university to begin the next chapter in her life and this would be an amazing way to say thank you for all the time she has given our beavers.

Nominated by David Sawford,  GSL

Apr 23

Leics Scouts St George’s Day Awards


Ten scouters from Harborough District were recoLeicsSt Geognised for their service and dedication to the movement at the Leicestershire Scouts St George’s Day Awards evening on Friday 21 April.  Over 100 awardees attended an evening of celebration and entertainment with a great buffet too!  Many of the awards were in recognition of volunteering for the Charnwood International Camp last summer.  Dave Sawford and Rachel Hamill were noted as being part of the offsite programme team and Conrad Barnett and Alice Green on the trading team.

Nominated from Harborough District were:

Gareth Butcher and Tina Taylor for leading units from the county to the 2015 World Scout Jamboree to Japan.

Sharon McCarthy, our district membership secretary.  Sharon receives all the enquiries from our website and national for new joiners and sends them out to the preferred groups.  Its a bit of a thankless task but vital to getting more young people into the adventure.

Kyle Biggins for a fantastic first year as an assistant scout leader at 1st Great Glen.  Kyle managed to find the time to get along to the awards evening despite having several pieces of course work and a dissertation to finish for his degree by next week.

Anne-Marie Barker for a fantastic stint as cub leader at Kibworth for the last eight years. I know we can expect more of the same from her in her new role as Explorer Leader Young Leader.

Phil King who has also just finished a five year term as Chairman at Kibworth.  Phil was instrumental in turning around the hut finances and managing the hut refurbishment.

Their individual citations are below. Please do scroll down and read more about these fantastic scouters.

If you think there is someone missing from being recognised for all they do, then hold that thought and be ready to nominate them for our Harborough District Champion Scouters next January.  With the Swimming Gala, St George’s Day, District Camp and these Leics Awards packed into the first half of this year, we felt that our Champion Scout Awards needed to miss a year.

Debbie Billington


Gareth Butcher nominated by Debbie Billington

Gareth stepped into the Scout Leader role at 1st Kibworth in March 2012 at a time when the group was very short of adults with none for the Scout Section.  He was a scout in his youth, and a leader in his 20s so came with all the right skills and experience. Under his leadership, the troop steadily grew and he recruited other parents to get involved, to the point that a second troop was opened in 2015.

Gareth also played a major part in the development of the Group and in particular the relationship with Guiding who share their HQ.  He is chairman of the Hut Committee and steers this group to finding workable solutions and positive outcome for both adventures.

In 2013, Gareth was selected as a unit leader for the Leicestershire contingent to the next World Scout Jamboree.  He spent many extra hours and weekends preparing and making arrangements for these explorers to get to Japan and back in 2015.  On their return, Gareth helped to take the story of their adventures to sections across the Harborough District, enthusing them to take advantage of the opportunity in the future. And all the while maintaining a full programme for Kibworth scouts and excellent trusteeship for the Hut committee.

Thanks Gareth for all these amazing things, not only from Harborough District but Leicestershire Scouts too. You’ve really made a difference.


Tina Taylor nominated by Debbie Billington

Tina began scouting as a Group Chairman but was thankfully diverted to Explorers as a section leader where her real skills and experience could shine.  Initially it was to set up a second explorer unit for the district and she has remained at the helm for the last 7 years.

In addition to running a full and varied programme for the Mad Hatters, Tina has played a major role in delivering Young Leader Training Modules for all district explorers, keeping the sessions lively, fun and informative.

She is keen to help co-ordinate DofE expeditions across the units to ensure a wider and inclusive experience for all explorers. In recent years she has co-ordinated bronze expeditions, giving these younger explorers an excellent grounding to go on to achieve higher levels.

In 2013, Tina was appointed as a Jamboree Contingent leader with a Leicestershire Unit. She set about building a team ethos with the unit and spent many extra hours and weekends preparing and making arrangements for these Leics explorers to get to Japan and back in 2015.  On their return, Tina helped to take the story of their adventures to sections across the Harborough District, enthusing younger members to take advantage of the opportunity in the future. And all the while maintaining a full programme for the Hatters and completing DofE expeditions.

Thanks Tina for all these amazing things, not only from Harborough District but Leicestershire Scouts too. You’ve really made a difference.


Sharon McCarthy nominated by Debbie Billington

Sharon volunteered as our district membership secretary back in early 2014. She receives all joining enquiries for youth membership from our district website, county and Gilwell, transferring them to OSM and sending out to the preferred group.  With over 100 new joiners each year across the district, its an ongoing task.

Sharon is very mindful that for most parents, she is their first point of contact with scouting. She is always very prompt, polite and welcoming in her communications and incredible efficient at keeping track of progress of individual enquiries.

Sharon has built excellent virtual relationships with each of the groups’ membership secretaries, always willing to go the extra mile to make sure things run smoothly.

In my time as District Commissioner, Sharon has been one reliable constant. I don’t think she realises, let alone the rest of the district, what a truly amazing job she does. Sharon is very deserving of this award for the everyday difference she makes.


Kyle Biggins nominated by Phil Reed

Kyle went through the Scout section at Great Glen Scout Group between 2005-2009. Now at University, but still living locally, at the end of 2015 Kyle dropped by to catch up with his ‘old’ Scout Leaders. The following day he contacted me and offered his services as an Assistant Scout Leader.

Kyle attended our Annual Scout Pancake evening with our Scouts in February 2016, and since then has become an integral part of the Scout Leadership team, and with his vibrant character has been an instant success with our young members.

During the summer Kyle attended Charnwood 2016, not only as a member of our Leadership Team supporting our Scouts, but as a member of the Smashing 70s Sub Camp Team. Before Charnwood Kyle put in many hours in support of the Sub Camp Teams’ efforts and made many trips to Stoney Stanton to help with the Gateway build.

Despite currently being in his final year at University, with much coursework, Kyle continues to give 110% week by week commitment to the Scout section, and during the short space of time that Kyle has been with us, he has completed most of his training towards his Wood Badge.

Kyle has been immense support to me helping to run our Scout section, in a busy Charnwood Year, and I would say that he is another example of how Scouting shapes young people into fine citizens, of which Kyle is first class.


Anne-Marie Barker nominated by Debbie Billington

Annie has spent the last eight years volunteering with Kibworth cubs.  She started as an assistant leader when her son moved up from beavers and spent the next four years working with Simon Holder running a very successful pack.

When Simon moved on to be GSL, Annie reluctantly but capably stepped up into the Section Leader role and continued to ensure an excellent adventure for the cubs.  They have always completed several nights away each year and taken part in district events such as challenge and hike activity days.  Their weekly sessions are always busy and lively and whenever I call by, there always seems to be some excellent cuisine!

Annie has welcomed and supported many new leaders into the pack, helping to build and grow the leadership team so that when a second cub pack was needed there were sufficient adults and experience for them both.  The cooperation between the packs meant that all cubs have access to an exciting and varied programme.

In recent months Annie stepped back to an Assistant Leader role but has continued to really support the packs.  She took them on the district PGL camp and seems to have had as much fun as them if her facebook posts keeping parents informed is anything to go by.

Thanks Annie for 8 years of adventure with cubs.


Phil King nominated by Simon Riley

Phil stepped into the Group Chairman role some five years ago. Prior to that no-one at Kibworth could remember having had an Exec Committee let alone a Chairman! With a little support from the district, Phil did a great job in re launching the Exec and bringing order to the engine room of the group.  With the help of the new group secretary and treasurer and Online Scout Manager, the membership records and subscriptions were transformed.

At the same time, the Kibworth Hut Committee was also relaunched and Phil volunteered to be the treasurer. Little did he know of the trials and tribulations ahead although there was a warning of things to come when the previous incumbent handed over little more than a couple of carrier bags of receipts. Phil was not fazed by this and proceeded to work through them with an almost forensic zeal which then led to some uncomfortable but necessary conversations to recover rent arrears. As a result the Hut’s finances are now properly understood and on a sound footing.

Phil’s work continued with the major hut refurbishment project. He was responsible for sourcing and making grant applications to cover the cost of the work as well as shaping and prioritising the actual work from planning consent to practicalities.  Without his finger on the financial pulse Kibworth Hut would not have progressed as far and as fast.

Phil your efforts and commitment to the Group have made a real difference to scouting and guiding in Kibworth.