December 12 2013 Latest news:
Kathryn Bradley and Chris Bishop
Monday, October 14, 2013
Bear Grylls was mobbed like a pop star on a whistle stop tour of scout jamborees.
Crowds of young people surrounded the TV adventurer, when he made flying visits to activity days at Fritton Lake, Great Yarmouth and Wolferton, near Sandringham.
Mr Grylls visited 13 events over the weekend in his capacity as Chief Scout, hopping from campfire to campfire by chartered helicopter.
At Fritton Lake, near Great Yarmouth, more than 650 scouts, beavers and cubs from Lowestoft, Southwold, Beccles, Bungay and Halesworth were waiting excitedly for him to arrive.
There was backwoods cooking, woggle making, archery, water rockets, human table football and space hopper races to enjoy as well as activities on the lake including windsurfing, canoeing and rowing.
There were cheers as the helicopter touched down, with youngsters waving their arms frantically to catch Mr Grylls’ attention.
Sam Adams, 17, a Queen’s Scout from Lowestoft Explorers, and Laura Holmes, 13, from 2nd Beccles Scouts, were chosen to greet and escort the TV presenter and his family around the site.
Mel Buck, district scouting commissioner for Lowestoft, said: “It is the first time the Chief Scout has ever been to this area so it is a big thing.
“It helps to show how great Scouting is in the community and what people can bring as volunteers back to the movement.”
Mr Grylls took part in activities with children, including canoeing, and signed autographs before heading off to Great Yarmouth High School, where hundreds of Cub Scouts from 11 local clubs were waiting to meet him.
He spent time meeting the youngsters, who were taking part in an annual Scouting competition to win the Wiltshire Trophy, which tests time-honoured Scouting skills, including tracking animals, tying knots, first aid and semaphore.
Young Scout leaders Harriet Goldspink and Jack Truman had the honour of showing Grylls around during his visit.
Jack Jenkins, spokesman for the East Norfolk District of the Scouts, said: “It was a good day all round. I think everyone really enjoyed meeting him. I don’t think they could really believe it. They were all very happy and excited.
“I think it is brilliant that a Chief Scout actually came and spent time with the young Scouts. I hope it inspires other people to join in.”
After he landed at Wolferton, near Sandringham on the Royal Estate, Mr Grylls gave an impromptu address to the 300 or so Scouts who had turned out for the day.
“Scouting is full of inspiring opportunities but it’s like life, it’s all about what you make of it,” he said. “Nobody’s going to make you go on an expedition or have an adventure, so make the most of it.
“Days like this are so special because we’re part of this world-wide force for good, with 30m Scouts around the world.”
While the movement is as strong as it has ever been, with almost 8,000 young people aged from six to 18 enjoying the delights of camp and singing songs around the fire in Norfolk alone, there are more than 400 on waiting lists because more Scout leaders are desperately needed.
As he ran the gauntlet of crowds of youngsters requesting autographs, on his way to the waiting helicopter, Mr Grylls said: “There’s a real buzz in Norfolk, more people are joining the Scouts than ever before. But we need more adults to help them access that adventure.”
As Mr Grylls’ helicopter took off, the Scouts’ newly-appointed county commissioner Nicki Chapman said: “My ambition is to have more young people doing the adventurous things they want to do, but we can’t do that without more people coming forward to help us.”
Explorer Scout Becky Hornigold, 16, from King’s Lynn, said: “When I was six, I became a beaver scout. It’s so much fun, you meet different people.
“I’ve been to different countries around the world, France, Switzerland, Austria.
“Scouting has given me experiences that most people my age would not have access to, I have made new friends and had the most fantastic experiences.”
To find out more about becoming a Scout leader, click here or call 0845 300 1818.