More than 600 Leighton Scouts, VIPs, parents and friends brought St George’s Day to a fitting climax last Wednesday with a parade of flags and a service in All Saints Church despite an April shower.
Meeting in Parsons Close Recreation Ground, the Scouts made a colourful spectacle in the rain as they marched past the saluting base at the Leighton Buzzard war memorial before filling the church to capacity. The salute was taken by District Commissioner Andy Goddon.
The tradition of parades on St George’s Day goes back over 100 years to the time when Baden Powell chose St George as the patron saint of Scouts all over the world. It is an occasion when all 36 million Scouts world wide renew their promise. It is also a time when St George’s Day honours are presented.
Mr Goddon said: “This year we had 41 honours in the district. Our young people have worked really hard. There were 28 Chief Scout Awards to Beavers, Cubs and Scouts who had completed a range of challenges.
Eight young leaders received Duke of Edinburgh medals including Ed Goddard, 24 who achieved the top gold award to add to the Queen Scout Award he received two years ago. Later this year Ed will go to St James Palace to receive his royal award at a special ceremony.”
Andy added: “We also welcomed two new trained leaders who will help us to reduce our waiting lists. Then we had another two volunteers who were awarded long service medals. One was a 40-year award to Mike Rowland the district chairman. Another honour went to Beverley Dass, from the 1st Linslade, who received a Chief Scout’s Commendation for exceptional services to Scouting.”
Mike Rowland’s long Scouting career has followed an impressive route. He has served as district commissioner in the 1990s and successfully carried the district through many changes such as the development of Beaver Scouts and the introduction of Explorer Scouts. He is now district chairman.
His interests include membership of the Rotary Club. He served as club president and was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship for outstanding services in the local community.
During the service, conducted by the Rev D Crichton Limbert, the Scouts renewed their promise in a ritual that goes back to the early days of Scouting.
Invited guests included county commissioner Bob Calver, district president George Plenderleath and Leighton mayor Amanda Dodwell. She said: “I always welcome these occasions to take part in the celebration of our Patron Saint’s day and to share with you all the many successes you have had over the last 12 months.”