Sutton Coldfield Scouts held their Annual Raft Race on Saturday 30th June at Powells Pool in Sutton Park and were delighted to meet the Mayor of Sutton Coldfield, Councillor Derrick Griffin. The Mayor took time out of his busy schedule to meet the young people taking part in the Raft Race and those going on World Scout Jamboree next year.
Councillor Griffin said:
“I used to be a Scout myself when I used to live in Walsall. I used to love going camping on Beaudesert on Cannock Chase. I think more young people should join the Scouts. It provides marvellous opportunities for young people. All of the Scout leaders do a great job. People forget they are volunteers giving up their time for the local community.”
At the Raft Race teams of Scouts were battling it out on self-made crafts. The event is held jointly with Scouts from Sutton Coldfield East and West Districts. The Scouts build their own rafts and then battle it out on the water to see who will be the fastest, tackling different challenges during the morning.
Councillor Griffin showed the Scouts a treasured photograph of himself as a Scout with his brother that he keeps in his wallet.
“I keep this photograph to remind me of when my brother and I were Scouts. We went to 20th Walsall Scouts which was at St Patrick`s Church. This is me holding our flag. I left the Scouts in 1954 in a career that took me overseas including serving for six years in the Royal Military Police in Kenya during the Emergency. In 1957 I was invited to attended the World Jamboree in Sutton Park. It was a wonderful experience I will never forget.”
Regarding the World Scout Jamboree the Mayor said:
“They are going to have a brilliant time. These are the things memories are made out of! I will never forget my experience at the World Jamboree in Sutton Coldfield. Jamborees are part of Sutton Coldfield`s heritage. I moved from Walsall to Walmley in 1978. My two daughters went to school in Sutton Coldfield. What these Scouts are doing going on Jamboree is keeping our history and tradition going as ambassadors for our Royal Town. We should be proud of them and give them our support.”
The Mayor was also interested in watching the young people use traditional Scouting skills to construct their rafts commenting:
“I enjoyed sitting on the rafts but I was not dressed properly to go out on the water. The young people were building their rafts from pioneering poles, rope and barrels. These are traditional Scouting skills which I could see have not been lost from my time in the Scouting.”
Adam Hodson, Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts in Sutton Coldfield East said:
“The true spirit of the competition is teamwork and survival skills. Each team consists of four to six Scouts who must build a raft and race it across the water. The event is supervised by a safety team using powered rescue boats and kayaks. Any Scout is removed from the water if showing signs of fatigue, cold or if the safety team deems that their craft is no longer viable. All competitors must wear life jackets and buoyancy aids along with helmets for the race. We take the safety of our amazing young people extremely seriously.”
Scouts from 5th Sutton Coldfield East won two trophies, namely best overall team and for completing the course in the fastest time. The 7th Sutton Coldfield won the prize for best constructed craft while Scouts from 31st Sutton Coldfield West won the trophy for the fastest time in their District.
Town and Country Meats provided the barbecue so that every penny of every burger and sausage bap sold would go direct to the World Scout Jamboree in America funds.