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Kent scout dies at jamboree event in Evo, Finland

The family of a 12-year-old scout who died during a jamboree event in Finland say they will miss his "cheeky smile, floppy hair and goodnight cuddles".

Charlie Girling, who was with the 1st Aylesford Scout Group, collapsed at the camp on Sunday night following a sudden illness.

The on-site medical team and paramedics provided treatment at the scene but were unable to save the Maplesden Noakes pupil.

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Charlie Girling
Charlie Girling

Today a statement was released by Charlie's parents Helene and Les, sister Abby and brother Jack. It said: "We are so saddened at the loss of our lovely son, Charlie.

"He was much loved by us and his brother and sister. We have been overwhelmed by the lovely messages that we have received about Charlie, and how much he was loved by his friends and those who knew him.

"Although Charlie’s life was short, he lived life to the full, and we are so sad that he will never fulfill all his dreams.

"He was a keen footballer, did well at school and enjoyed Scouts and we are so proud of all that he achieved. We will miss his cheeky smile, floppy hair and our goodnight cuddles."

The International Finnish Jamboree
The International Finnish Jamboree

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all their care, to everyone at Roihu who could not have done more for Charlie and then looked after us so well since, and to the leaders of 1st Aylesford Scout Group and the wider Scouting family for all their help and support."

Investigations into what caused his death were continuing today.

Group scout leader at 1st Aylesford Scouts, Krysia Keeley, has paid tribute to the popular youngster. She said: "Charlie was a lively energetic young man and a keen member of the 1st Aylesford Scout Group and he will be sadly missed.

"He loved Scouting and we loved him. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Charlie at this time."

The Kent Scouts have now returned home following the tragedy.

Maplesden Noakes School Headteacher, Jane Prideaux described the Year 7 student as a "kind, caring and helpful" boy.

She said: "Charlie was a lively student, a very able, very bright lad who was well liked by peers at the school and also by his teachers.

"He was very hardworking and a model student. He was one of those lads who got involved with everything - he enjoyed his subjects and all aspects of school life, he liked his PE.

"We were all very saddened and shocked to hear the news and our condolences go to his family at this sad time.

The jamboree is being held in Roihu
The jamboree is being held in Roihu

"We will be organising a tribute to remember Charlie when the school opens again in September, but at the moment students are getting support from their families."

A memorial was held at the camp on Monday, with mourners gathering at the main stage and the camp chapel to pay their respects.

A spokesman for The Scout Association said: "The Scout Association (UK) is in touch with all the families of the young people attending the Finnish National Jamboree from Kent, ensuring they are fully briefed and supported.

"We will be working with the Finnish Scout Movement and the relevant local authorities to establish the full details of this tragic incident."

As the news broke yesterday, tributes were paid on social media.

Carla Saluci described him as "a beautiful boy, inside and out". She wrote, "It was a pleasure to have known him, he will be missed deeply.

Petra Brookes said Charlie was a "lovely cheeky chappie," while Helen Paul wrote: "Such a lovely kind, young man, my heart goes out to his family and friends."

MP for Chatham and Aylesford, Tracey Crouch, and Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant have also expressed their sadness at the news.

This morning Larkfield Football Club also tweeted a message offering the club's condolences.

Scout groups from across the UK have been paying their respects. The 50th Medway Scout Group held a minute's silence at a scout camp in Hertfordshire yesterday evening.

In Staffordshire, 1st Hartshill Scout Group flew their flag at half mast, alongside a message to their fellow scout.

A message posted by 1st Hartshill Scout Group
A message posted by 1st Hartshill Scout Group

Charlie’s family has been informed, and scouts attending the event have been offered help from professional crisis counsellors.

The nine-day camp, which started last Wednesday, is being held in Evo, Hämeenlinna. In total 650 Scouts from the UK were attending.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are providing support to the family of a British national following their tragic death in Finland. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time”

The camp involves a number of outdoor activities
The camp involves a number of outdoor activities

Anna Munsterhjelm, chief scout of the Guides and Scouts of Finland, expressed condolences to the 12-year-old's family and friends, adding: “The loss has moved thousands of people within and outside the camp.

“We are grateful, that the scout movement is a homogenous global community that has the strength to support one another even in difficult situations.

"We will create a better world by working together - in both good and bad times. We wish that every scout in and outside the camp will help to bear the grief of the family and friends.”

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