ALMOST 400 young people and their families filed into the sports hall at Okehampton College on Sunday, April 24 to mark St George’s Day for the first time in three years, writes Sue Read.

They were all representing Scouting in their Mid Devon District with groups from Okehampton, North Tawton, South Zeal, Bow, Tedburn and Cheriton, Chulmleigh, Sandford, South Zeal and the District Explorers Unit.

They gathered outside the main entrance to the college then, led by the Okehampton Excelsior Silver Baand, walked around half of Simmons Park, watched by a large number of people including dog walkers, to take the Scouting salute at the bandstand before returning to the college sports hall.

As for so many others, covid had shut down Scouting.  The country had gone into the first lockdown four weeks before the St George’s Day parade would have been held three years ago.

Thanking everyone, district commissioner Trevor Waycott, said how good it was to be back together after such a long time.

‘We have come out the other side of this pandemic with fresh ideas to rebuild Scouting across Mid Devon and we are starting to make those few tentative steps,’ he said. ‘Scouting gives young people skills to succeed.  These include character skills such as resilience, initiative, independence and tenacity.

‘It also gives them skills for employment such as leadership, teamwork and problem solving along with practical skills such as cooking and first aid, to name a few. ‘

He added that he was very proud of the nine ‘amazing’ young people chosen to represent the area at the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea next year. Having introduced themselves, they explained how they had been selected and what the trip would involve with 60,000 people from all around the world coming together for a wide range of activities, adventure and ‘delicious experiences’.

Promises were then renewed, the names read out of the Beavers who had received the Chief Scout Bronze award:

Okehampton – Barnaby Willis, Aimee Teixeira, Lewis Hawkins, Ezekiel Evans, Stanley Hicks.

North Tawton – Lewis Atkinson, Scarlett Whiteley, Lucas Whiteley, Ruben Dimock and Finley Moffat.

Tedburn and Cheriton – Charlie Tripp, George Harrop, Toby Downes, Scarlett Cote, Erin Palfrey, Eden Stone, Archie Taylor, Elsie Dunning, Jace Lord, Amber Wheeler-James, Winter Gibbins, Emelia Taylor and Gracie Martin.

Crediton – Jack Davies, Oliver Mason, Owain Olsson, Logan Harry, Toby Camp, Riley Houghton, Matthew Harris, Frasier Simmons, Jamie Jones, Nate Payne, Sebastian Spencer and Denmark Waldram-McCabe.

The shield for the Best Turned Out contingent was won by Crediton, presented by Helen Derbyshire, deputy district commissioner Cubs.

Trevor Waycott presented rewards to leaders as a ‘personal thank you’ to them for all they had done, especially over the last three years or so which had been a struggle.

They were: Sam Jollow (Okehampton), Fiona Willis (Okehampton), Christopher Jackson (Bow), Helen Olsson (Crediton), John Smith (Chulmleigh), Sarah Weatherfield (Crediton), and Andrew Smith (Tedburn and Cheriton).

Not all the young people going to the World Scout Jamboree were able to be there. The six who were served tea, coffee and cakes in return for donations to their funds. They were Sam Carling and Jo Bales of Okehampton, Abi Smith, Ruby Bushin and Eleanor Pearce of South Zeal and Alice Smith of Tedburn and Cheriton.