In ‘Scouting for Boys’ Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, referred to the Knights of the Round Table in the Arthurian Legend and to St George who was their Patron Saint and is the Patron Saint of Scouting all over the world.
As St George was typical of what a Scout should be. So, the Sunday nearest to St George’s Day (23rd April) has become an annual occasion for all United Kingdom Scouts to hold ceremonies to reaffirm their Promise and acknowledge the Scout Law in a national act of dedication.
The legend of St George, which is an allegory illustrating the triumph of good over evil, tells how he rode into the city of Silene in what is now Libya, to find people terrorised by a dragon which was fed daily with one of the citizens.
The next victim was to be Cleolinda, daughter of the King, but St George rode out, slew the dragon and freed the people from their oppressor. Thus, whether in the context of history or legend, to Baden-Powell, the story of St George epitomised the qualities of selflessness and moral and physical courage which he saw in Scouting.
Following this tradition Tameside Scouts held their St George’s Day parade last Sunday.
The parade in Ashton was lead by the Dover Explorer Scouts colour party who had the honour of carrying the flag of St George this year, (a white flag with a red cross) They were followed by the Middleton Brass Band playing the marching tunes, followed by Angela Rayner MP, Cllr Joyce Bowerman and the Scout Commissioners and all the other Scouts, which numbered approximately 400 members.
They marched from Old Street round the market and war memorial to Albion Church, where the service; led by the Minister Edward Inglis who received the flag from the Dover’s colour party which he laid on the altar.
This year, it was the turn of 2nd Ashton Scouts Sean Oreilly GSL and his leaders from the West End to the run the presentation at the service. The Scout group had been researching Scouts who had acted with great courage and bravery, like St George. During their research, they found the first Scout who joined in 1907 the movement at the start of Scouting. His name was Musgrave Wroughton aged 15 and he was known as Bob to his friends. In 1914, Bob went to the 1st World War with his regiment the 12th Lancers to fight in Ypres in Belgium and fought with great courage and bravery, but unfortunately he was killed in action in 1915 at the young age of 23 years.
Another young Scout was John Cornwall who was awarded the Victoria Cross for staying at his gun on the HMS Chester during the battle of Jutland in 1916. John remained at his post, manning a gun when all his gun crew had been killed until he too was eventually killed in the action.
The Scout Association now have the ‘Cornwall Award’ for bravery under extreme circumstances for people under 20 years old.
Part of the St George’s service is for all Scouts to stand, salute and renew their promises, Beavers 6 to 8 years old, ‘I promise to do my best. To be kind and helpful and to love God.’ Cubs 8 to 10, I promise that, ‘I will do my best to do my duty to God and the Queen.’ To help other people and to keep the Cub Scout law.’ For Scouts 10 to 14, Explorers 14 to 18, Networks 18 to 25 and Leaders 18 upwards, ‘On my honour I promise that I that I will do my best to do my duty to God and to the Queen to help other people and to keep the Scout Law.’
There are many different versions of the ‘Duty to God’ in the Scout Promise to cater for the many different religions and faiths for the girls and boys in scouting today.
The service is also where awards are presented to Scouts and Supporters to Scouting and this year the District Commissioner Andy Morton presented Award for Merits for service to Scouting, to:
Susan Frankish supporter to 413th Droylsden,
Mark Fish 6th Ashton Scout Leader,
Alan Burgess fund raiser 2/1 Hurst,
Karen Longley 2/1 Hurst Cub Scout Leader and
Dave Batty Treasurer to 6th Ashton.
Mr Andy Morton also presented the Wood Beads for leaders completing their full Scout training to:
Gillian Cummins ADC Cubs,
Tina Howarth GSL 3rd Ashton,
Stephen Longley GSL 2/1 Hurst,
Richard Dannah SL,
Danielle Hyde ABL 6th Ashton.
He also invested into Scouting after they had accepted the Scout Law and Promise,
Heather Pearce ADC Scouts,
Donna and Jim Boden SAS,
Julie Artingstall ACSL 339th Droylsden and
Richard Brown ABSL 250th Droylsden.
Following the presentations of awards the MP for Ashton and current Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Angela Rayner, congratulated all the award winners and thanked all the Leaders and Supporters for the great work they do for young people in Scouting.
At the end of the service the blessing was given and the St George Flag recovered by the flag party and tea and biscuits was served by the Scout Active Support group.
Following the service Angela Rayner’s, two sons are going to join a local Scout Group as they have now moved into Ashton.
The District Commissioner Andy Morton said, “This year’s parade was excellent, we had lovely weather and a brass band for the first time for many years, and the service, which was conducted by the Reverend Edward Inglis who showed us his Superman impressions and 2nd Ashton Scouts presentation was also excellent”.
He went onto say, “I would like to thank Angela Reyner for taking the time to turn up and showing her appreciation of what Scouting means to everybody, and also to Councillor Joyce Bowerman for supporting the Scouts, as she has done for many years. I would like to give a special thanks to Peter Douthwaite and Martin Roache from the Freemasons for their large donation and many other people who donated to our Crowd funding appeal for the band, and to Vanessa Rothwell for her support from Stronger Communities in Tameside Council”.
Alan Fish added his thanks to Albion Church for letting the Scouts to use the church, also behind the scenes Gary Edwards, Tameside Highways and Lauren Redfern, Tameside Traffic Operations, plus our Support Active Scouting team supporting the safety of the parade, and in church, one of the most important jobs, organising the tea and biscuits!”
If you would like to help scouting as a Leader or a Supporter contact Alan: firstname.lastname@example.org 07931765120 or go to www.gmescouts.org.uk