A long-standing Ripley scout has been honoured with the highest national award for his dedication over 76 years.
Born, bred and having lived his entire life in Ripley, 83-year-old William Hutchinson, known to all as Bill, has been a member of the Scouts ever since he was a boy.
Now, he has been recognised by chief scout Bear Grylls and presented with scouting’s highest award, The Silver Wolf.
Bill started as a Wolf Cub in 1939 and still continues to this day.
Son-in-law and assistant district commissioner Colin Newton said that despite his many years of service, Bill’s enthusiasm has not dimished.
He said: “Bill is a fountain of knowledge regarding all scouting matters in the area and as the unofficial archivist, Bill has retained much information and memorabilia and has recently reunited a number of photographs, flags and documentation to local groups from adjacent districts, thought to have previously been lost.”
As a member of the Royal British Legion, Bill is a regular sight in Ripley on the run up to Remembrance Sunday, where he braves all weather conditions selling poppies.
He has been the leading seller in the area for many years and has received personal thanks from the British Legion for his efforts.
Colin added: “He also single handedly conducted a project to identify names of servicemen killed during the conflicts that were omitted from the Ripley War Memorial, which after months of campaigning were included at a special ceremony.”
In the above photograph, Bill, the oldest scout in the district, can be seen receiving his award at the St Georges Day celebrations hosted by the 1st Loscoe Scout Group.
He was presented with the Silver Wolf by one of the youngest Beaver scouts.
Colin, also present at the ceremony, said: “With his skills in traditional scouting methods and backwoodsmanship, Bill has been an invaluable source of inspiration and knowledge.”
As a scout, you can learn survival skills, first aid, computer programmng, or even how to fly a plane. It’s also a great way to have fun, make friends, get outdoors, express your creativity and experience the wider world.
If you would like to learn more about scouting, or volunteer as an adult, please contact Colin Newton on 01773533869.