A Leighton Buzzard teenager was delighted to be one of only three Bedfordshire recipients who had the honour of receiving the Queen’s Scout Award.
Tom Scanlon, 19, visited Windsor Castle to take part in a ceremonial parade and march past in the quadrangle of the castle.
Prince Edward of Kent was the royal representative for the special occasion, while Chief Scout Bear Grylls also visited to give advice to the young award winners.
In order to receive his accolade, the determined Leighton lad had to complete his Gold Duke of Edinburgh challenge and perform two tasks to show his international and community values.
Tom said: “The day was fantastic. There was a really good atmosphere and everyone was buzzing.
“The Royal band gave me goosebumps, and one of the most exciting moments was when we were in the quadrangle and they marched in.
“You couldn’t go in that area unless you were a Queen’s Scout - my parents couldn’t come in - and seeing Prince Edward was surreal.”
After the parade, a service of thanksgiving was held in St George’s chapel before the parade formed up and marched out of King Henry VIII’s gate and back to the Royal mews for dismissal.
To demonstrate his international values, Tom had previously given a talk to the 1st Linslade Scouts about his time Austria when he joined a group of Scouts and embarked upon adventures such as mountain biking and kayaking. They had also celebrated International Food Day, with Tom sharing cream scones and the Austrians sharing schnitzel and frankfurters.
Meanwhile, to show his community spirit back home, Tom gave a talk to the 1st Leighton Buzzard cub group about the importance of respecting the environment, and organised a bug trail.
He also completed his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, receiving his certificate at St James’s Palace in December.
Tom said: “Bear Grylls told us: ‘You’ve done this so you can do anything! What’s your next feat going to be?
“It doesn’t stop here.’
“He called us the elite of Scouting and compared us to the special forces.
“I also tilted my head at him and he did it back. It was so cool!”
Father, Scott Scanlon, added: “My wife Carole and I are both so proud. It was an absolutely fantastic day.
“The Scouts offers something different. It’s not old fashioned; it’s about being part of something, learning good values and helping people.
“You can go to places around the world, try new languages and food, and meet with Scouts from across the globe.
“It sets you up for life.”
Tom is finishing his Public Services qualification at Central Bedfordshire College whilst working at Waitrose.
He is a former Vandyke Upper School pupil and completed both his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award and Queen’s Scout Award before turning 18.
He is also former member of the 1st Leighton Buzzard Beaver Colony, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts.