SHOCKED Nathan Bilham received Scouting’s top honour at the movement’s big night in Bognor Regis.
Nathan was presented with the Queen’s Scout Award in recognition of his work and dedication.
He is one of only three Scouts in the county to receive the award so far this year. Only four were honoured during 2017.
Tsunami Explorer Scout Nathan, 18, who is also a Scout Leader with the 2nd Bognor Group, said: “I’m quite ecstatic about gaining the award.
“I knew I had gained it but I was shocked to be presented with it tonight. I’m going to enjoy wearing it.”
Nathan, a woodworking student at Chichester College, has been involved with Scouting since he was six.
“It give us you so many opportunities, gets you out of your comfort zone and you meet new people,” he said.
He is about to attend a camp in Holland after having been to France in 2017.
The presentation was carried out by Matthew Pike, Scouting’s deputy county commissioner for programmes.
“The Queen’s Scout Award is the pinnacle of our youth programme,” he said. “It’s on a par with the gold award in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. It takes a lot of commitment to complete this award.”
To qualify for the award, a Scout must spend 18 nights away, of which 12 must be camping and take part in one of five challenge activities.
Six activities from the international, community and values list such as developing Scouting in an area and taking part in a project at a campsite abroad must also be completed.
Nathan’s presentation ended the latest annual meeting of the Bognor Regis and District Scouts.
District chairman Ken Poupart said “We continue to grow and the movement continues to flourish in our town. During the past year, a new group, 2nd Felpham, has started in the community building in North Bersted.
“Whilst only a Beaver colony at present, it has great potential. We just need the leaders to help us, and this year we have been lucky to recruit a number, but more are always needed.”
He said the number of Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts around the district was upwards of 600.
New District Commissioner Vicki Goodland said she was committed with her new Deputy District Commissioner, Chris Boreham, to making Bognor Regis the friendliest and most forward-thinking district in the county.
“I hope you will all help along the way to make this happen. I cannot express how much all the time you give to Scouting can impact on the lives of the young people in our care. We can change lives,” she said.
Her first presentations of the night saw the awards for the top Beaver go to Alfie Aquah, top Cub to Jessie Kempson and best Scout to Ella Drumbell.
Alfie, seven, of 1st Middleton-on-Sea, said: “I’m excited to win the award. I like Scouting because I do a lot of activities.”
2nd Bognor Regis member Jessie, 10, said: “I like taking part in all the camps, spending time with my friends and doing new jobs. I’m quite proud of myself for winning the award.
Ella, 11, of 1st Middleton-on-Sea, said: “I like all the activities we do and making new friends. I love camping the most. I get to sleep outside in a tent and cook my own dinner.”
The Young Leader of the Year was chosen as Lucy Budge, of 2nd Bognor Cubs, and the Explorer of the Year was Marnie Lord, of Tsunami ESU. The night also saw the first presentation of the Bill Robinson Memorial Trophy, pictured below, for the best entertainment. Named after a former district commissioner, it dates from 1937 as the Bognor District Scouts’ athletics trophy from 1937.