Presidents Patter – Autumn 2020

Date: 13th Dec 2020 Author: Nikki Benge

Marion McLaren
It is with a great sadness and regret I once more report the passing of a member of the 2nd Whitton Group family. When Marion and Jack McLaren’s sons Neale and Andy joined the ranks of the Group as Cubs, both parents threw themselves into the life of the Group also, and with gusto. Jack took on the role as QM and Marion became one of my Assistant Cub Scout Leaders while I was Akela (CSL) of Green Pack. Marion was a very loyal and active member of the Leader team and shared many camps at the 1st Normandy campsite. After finishing her uniform Service she continued as a busy Supporter and helped at every fundraising event.
Aside from her Scouting activities she was enthusiastic thespian and was a member of Barnes & Richmond and The Kingston Operatic Societies, and the Teddington and Hampton Theatre Groups. She held an Equity card and appeared as a extra in a number of films. Marion brought her talent to the Our Show stage and for several years took character parts in the sketches. From her theatrical associations she struck up a friendship with Alan Titchmarsh who at her funeral in a videoed Eulogy gave a very informative and at times an amusing insight into the interesting life Marion had led. I shall personally miss her presence and chats at Group events in the future.

“Nulli Secundus” (Second to None) Heroes everyone!
Since early this year when this dreadful pandemic hit the world, every country has experienced awful restrictions which has involved the curtailing of activities of every kind. In our own realm of Scouting there has been a huge strain on the ability of volunteers to engage with their members.

Scout Groups throughout the UK have therefore rarely been able to meet face to face. The only contact during Lockdowns has been through zoom meetings and even following Lockdown when meetings were allowed at our HQ, numbers are limited. As a large Group it has meant that the Scouting life we would wish to give our young people has been sorely restricted. It has meant in real terms they have missed nearly a year of the normal Scouting Activities.

Even so, all of our Section’s Leader Teams have tried to keep the Scouting life of the Group going. Every week Section Leaders, with their teams, have concocted engaging themed meetings and also endeavoured to promote other weekend events. This has placed a great and extra demand on their ingenuity and time and has been no mean feat. You will all have read the accounts of the continuing activities on the Group website and seen the photos posted in the Gallery. In addition encouraging their members to take and pass numerous badges which could be gained “at home”.


“Nulli Secundus” Supporters are the Greatest!
There would be no Heroes without Supporters and those of our Group are the Greatest. The definition of support is to sustain, assist, corroborate, – all of which our wonderfully loyal parents having been doing throughout these hard times. Whether it has been in our Sections zoom meetings or back at the HQ they have been there with their members, in uniform or theme costumes, week in week out. Without your support and the young people’s willingness to take part, all the heroics of our Leaders would come to nought.

But, of course, this is what being part of the 2nd Whitton Family is all about. In this praise I included without reservation all the lay members who are not necessarily parents any longer but have worked so hard to keep our HQ and grounds, a safe environment for the young people to meet. In these tricky times, where the full value of the Scouting Programme is not being provided, I hope you will nevertheless agree that the reduced rate of the Membership


It is with great regret we are unable to meet this year at the group’s annual “220 Ho Ho Ho”, however that does not prevent me from wishing you all the best of Christmas Greetings and good wishes for the New Year. May 2021 bring us all a year of near normality and a year of proper Scouting.

Geoff Benge
Group President

I want the public to know how Scouting continues to open young people’s eyes to a world of extraordinary promise and possibilities.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls