Oliver shows it’s good to get Scout and about

Oliver Smith  receiving his award from Nigel Sherlock, President of Northumberland County Scouts.
Oliver Smith receiving his award from Nigel Sherlock, President of Northumberland County Scouts.

A MORPETH teenager received a Royal reward after getting the highest accolade that can be achieved by a young person in Scouting.

To qualify for the Queen’s Scout Award, Oliver Smith had to complete his Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) Gold Award and also do two additional activities based on international, environmental or values themes.

And it meant he was able to participate in the annual parade of Queen’s Scouts from across the UK in Windsor on Sunday, which this year was attended in person by the monarch.

The contingent marched past Her Majesty in the grounds of Windsor Castle before going into the chapel for a service, which included an address by Chief Scout Bear Grylls.

Oliver’s extra activities for his award were going on a scouting trip to Uganda to take part in community projects and raising awareness of the ShelterBox international disaster relief charity in Explorer scout meetings.

Each box contains a relief tent for an extended family, water purification equipment, a stove, blankets and other items essential for survival.

To get his DoE Gold Award, he went on a four-day expedition which required camping out at night, spent a week working at a youth camp on Holy Island to meet the residential criteria and did a stint serving meals to patients at Wansbeck General Hospital for the volunteering category.

The former King Edward VI School pupil also used learning to drive and playing rugby for Morpeth RFC junior teams to fulfil the skill and physical sections.

Oliver said: “I was proud to represent Morpeth at the parade and although it was very wet, it was still a memorable experience.

“Knowing that the Queen would be present was a big incentive to complete the award this year as she can’t always make it along and her address, as well as Bear Grylls’, was very inspiring for the future of scouting.

“It was also nice to meet fellow scouts from across the UK and others came from countries around the world, such as Canada, South Africa and Hong Kong.”

The 19-year-old has been with the scouting movement since the age of six and as well as achieving a number of badges, he has taken part in a wide range of activities including camps and hikes.

Now in the Network section, he is helping younger scouts to do the same in his role as Assistant Leader with his old group — 6th Morpeth. He is currently in the first year of a biomedical sciences degree at Newcastle University.

“All of my scout leaders and helpers over the years have made an important contribution to me going on to get this accolade and I’ve also had great support from my parents and other family members,” Oliver said.

“The Morpeth scouting section is getting stronger and there are four or five people in the explorer unit who will hopefully be able to achieve the Queen’s Scout Award in the next couple of years.”

He received his national honour from President of Northumberland County Scouts Nigel Sherlock at an annual St George’s Day awards ceremony in County Hall.

District Commissioner Clive Rich said: “I am delighted that Oliver has achieved this award.

“He has been a committed scout since joining as a Beaver and the Queen’s Scout Award recognises that commitment as well as his achievements across a wide range of activities.

“Oliver has outwardly demonstrated the ideals of scouting and has been a positive role model for younger scouts to follow.

“He is the first Queen’s Scout from one of our Morpeth groups for many years and I know that leaders and scouts alike congratulate him on this achievement.”