Adventurous Leighton Buzzard Scout receives Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award

Award winner: Tom is a member of the United Kingdom Network Scouts and attends Central Bedfordshire College.
Award winner: Tom is a member of the United Kingdom Network Scouts and attends Central Bedfordshire College.

A determined Leighton Buzzard Scout received his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award in recognition of his tireless commitment and escapades.

Tom Scanlon, 18, visited St James’s Palace, London, for a special ceremony and was warmly congratulated by the Earl of Wessex.

The group’s certificates were presented by ‘Arch to Arctic’ intrepid explorers, Robert McArthur and Poldy van Lynden, who ran, swam, cycled and rowed 5000km from London to Svalbard.

Tom said: “I’m really proud to have got this far. The DofE organisers told us that only ten per cent of people who start end up going all the way.

“I joined when I was 14; I’ve always wanted to do it. The highlights were being with good mates in the countryside, working as part of a team, and sailing around the south west coast on a sail boat.”

For Tom’s Bronze award, he took part in an expedition over the Chilterns and volunteered with St John Ambulance Cadets at Leighton Buzzard and Furzton, while for the Silver award, he completed two, three-day routes in the Peak District with Explorer Scouts, and helped at Buzzard Beaver Scouts.

Tom said: “For the Gold expeditions, I was in a team of four canoeing the River Wye and Severn, carrying all kit needed.

“For the five-day residential phase, I was on a 1908 fishing skiff around the south west of England with people I had had no contact with before, trying not to be seasick!”

Impressively, Tom will be going to Windsor next April for his Queen’s Scout Award, and completed both this award and his Gold DofE award when he was under 18.

Father, Scott, said: “My wife Carole and I are immensely proud of our son.”