The Silver Wolf, highest Scouting honour, for Neville Wilson
- Credit: Dominic Moloney
The highest award in Scouting, the Silver Wolf, has been presented to a Saffron Walden man.
Neville Wilson, who has given more than 60 years of service and support to the movement, received the honour from District Commissioner Nigel Bailey.
The presentation at the District Renewal of the Promise Day was in front of around 150 Scouts of all ages, leaders and families covering 1st & 5th Saffron Walden, 1st Chesterford, 1st Clavering, 1st Newport, 1st Radwinter, and 1st Thaxted Carver.
The gathering also included Neville's wife, sons, daughter, and great-grandson Aiden, who is a Cub.
Neville said: "It was a great pleasure to receive it. I think it's wonderful but unexpected."
In tribute to the legacy he has grown, the 5th Saffron Walden has made Neville their very first Honorary Group President.
Scouting has been in Neville's life since he was a Cub in the 1st Saffron Walden, going on to become a Scout and Scout Leader.
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He was one of three founders of the 5th Saffron Walden Scout Group, set up in 1959 when Neville was an Assistant Scout Leader.
Speaking about that decision, Neville said: "There was a need for more Scouting in the town.
"The movement was growing and it has grown considerably since then.
"We had a Scout troop and a Cub pack. We developed into three Scout troops, two Cub packs, and two Beaver colonies, the numbers have grown considerably.
"Scouts has become more popular and, of course, we have introduced Beavers which are below Cub age and we have also introduced girls. When I was younger it was Boy Scouts, now it's just Scouts."
Neville was a Scout Leader for over five decades, becoming the Group Scout Leader in 1966, and only stepped down in 2009 after the 50th-anniversary celebrations.
Over the past 20 years, he has been instrumental in recruiting new leaders and helping them to grow and develop.
Neville said Lord Baden-Powell, the Scouting movement's founder, would have been "very pleased" at how popular Scouting now is worldwide.
The ethos of team building through patrols and patrol leaders is still there, though cooking outdoors now means gas stoves, not wood fires.
In the citation for the Silver Wolf, Neil Potrill said: “Neville has influenced, even changed, literally 1000s of young lives including those of longstanding Scouters of Group, District and County level.
"Yes, Scouting provided the framework but it was Neville’s interpretation and deployment of the Scouting values over 60+ years which has made the difference.
"You could say he has provided a life pathway and values for society, even when individuals leave Scouting itself.”
In his role on the Executive Committee, the citation noted that Neville constantly taps into his network to find people that can help the group.
The Renewal of the Promise Day, where Scouts promised to do their best and to help other people, also included treasure hunts around Great Chesterford, and the presentation of further awards.
John Capper has received an award for 50 years of service and a bar to the Silver Acorn.
Good service awards have been presented to Neil Potrill (Award for Merit), Becca Inman, Heather Browne and Dom Moloney (Chief Scout's Commendation), and Noel Starr (Commissioner's Commendation).
More adults are always needed to step forward and volunteer; their work helps young people to learn new skills and have fun.
To get involved as a young person or volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org