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An evening to honour Scouts

When Leonard Mace made his Scouting promise, he kept it.

For Mr Mace took his Scouts’ promise with the 1st Ditton Scout group when he was 11, back in 1930, and is still as involved in Scouting today as he was then.

Now a member of the Scouting Fellowship, his achievement was recognised at the annual awards ceremony for Malling Scouts, held on Friday, when his Silver Wolf award – the highest award which can be given in Scouting – was among 97 achievements celebrated at Larkfield Village Hall.

Mr Mace, now 89, and still living in Ditton, was too poorly to attend the evening, but his wife, Vi, attended on his behalf.

Back in the 1930s, the Ditton Scouts had about 24 members. Mr Mace said: “Scouting has changed a lot, with all this health and safety business. Unfortunately, a lot of the things that we used to do, like aerial swings, you just can’t do now, because it’s all so safe.”

Mr Mace, who has two sons Christopher and David, still takes Scout meetings occasionally and admits he can be quite strict. “I was a strict Scout master, There has got to be a little bit of discipline.”

A total of 97 awards were recognised at the award ceremony on Friday, which was attended by some 200 people. They included Beavers receiving their Bronze awards; Cubs receiving their Silver awards and Scouts getting their Gold awards. There were also wood badges for leaders who had completed their training.

Long-service awards were also given out, covering five to 40 years of service, including leader of the Cubs sector in West Malling, Jackie Nicholls, who received a medal of merit.

Five groups were represented from West Malling, Snodland, Borough Green, Mereworth and Kings Hill and Leybourne.

Also receiving a certificate was 17-year-old Stephen Young, who slept in a tent for a year in the back garden of his family home in Wrotham Road, Borough Green, to raise money for Demelza House children’s hospice, near Sittingbourne.

Linda Shillito, district secretary, said: “He has been a terrific ambassador for Scouting and has raised so much money for charity. He was also supported throughout by the rest of his Quintain Explorer Unit.”

“All of them have worked hard. They had to do the work for it, and according to their age, they have each worked jolly hard to achieve their awards.”

Presenting the awards were county commissioner Kelvin Holford, the Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, Cllr Chris Smith, and also attending were district commissioner Peter Nicholls and district chairman Martin Willgoss.

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