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A golden moment for a dedicated Scout
FIFTY years after making his first “promise” Kevin Heydon has celebrated a half century of loyal service to scouting in Yarnton.
Father-of-two Mr Heydon, 58, joined Yarnton Scout Group in the summer of 1962 as an eight-year-old Wolf Cub.
Since then the Kidlington resident has risen through the ranks and met generations of children and even wife Naomi on the way.
He said: “I joined the Wolf Cubs because back then it was a natural move for all the boys of my age in the village.”
He recalls helping to build the present scout hut in Merton Way before progressing to the Scouts in 1965.
Aged 16 he got a group leader appointment with the cub pack where found himself helping lead 20 youngsters.
Four years later he became an assistant cub leader at Yarnton and shortly qualified as Akela, a position he held for 11 years.
He said: “Scouting has given me a wide range of skills both practical and personal – I simply cannot imagine not being involved.
“I am so proud to be part of the biggest youth organisation in the world – seeing young people progress and develop from young children to adulthood.”
Now group scout leader, Mr Heydon is happiest when camping in the great outdoors.
Scouting has become a real family affair – wife Naomi is the Scout leader at Yarnton while son Thomas, 22, is a Queen Scout and assistant cub leader and James, 16, is an Explorer Scout.
He met his future wife when they were both on the service team at Youlbury Scout Camp near Oxford.
He said: “The high points of my time in scouting was undoubtedly attending my son Thomas’s Queen’s Scouts parade in St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle, in 2009. It is the highest award a young person can achieve.
“The low points are undoubtedly taking down and drying wet tents.”
Mr Heydon’s 50th anniversary was marked by a surprise party attended by present and former members of the movement.
Mr Heydon said: “In my view everyone and all communities would benefit from being involved in scouting.
“Here in Yarnton, scouting is still going strong, but we could offer this amazing experience to more young people as we have vacancies in both Beavers and Cubs.”
He continued: “The challenge for the future is to make the public aware that the movement has modernised and is no longer just about tying knots.”
After helping secure all the future of scouting all those years ago, the next challenge sees Mr Heydon come full circle – he is leading a fundraising drive to replace the scout hut.