FIVE members of Woking’s Explorer units have achieved the highest award for a youth member of the Scout Association.

The five, aged 17 and 18, recently became Queen’s Scouts, the culmination of two years of completing a series of tasks to qualify for the accolade.

They are Bethany Williamson of the Weyahead Unit in Pyrford, Hannah Crook and James Barber from the Martian Unit in Horsell, Tom Newling Ward of the Maverick Unit in Kingfield and Thomas Faulkner from the Challenger Unit in Knaphill.

An audience of 120 friends, family and VIP guests attended a special ceremony St John’s Church in St John’s to see the new Queen’s Scouts presented with their awards and give detailed presentations of the 10 tasks they had to complete.

Among the audience were the High Sheriff of Surrey in Nomination, Shahid Azeem, and the Mayor of Woking Cllr Beryl Hunwicks.

This year, approximately 300 Scouts in the UK will achieve the Queen’s Scout Award, and all will be invited to the annual St George’s Parade at Windsor Castle.

Activities they undertook included a 100 kilometre, four-day expedition on Dartmoor. This was done after 12 months of training in navigation, lightweight camping and cooking, plus numerous safety courses, to ensure they could be self-sufficient in uninhabited terrain.

Other major requirements for the award included community service, learning new skills, physical activities and learning about religions such as Buddhism, and Christian festivals.

For the accolade's International section, Tom climbed Kilimanjaro and helped build a school in the area and Hannah went to Zambia to help teach rugby to local children. Thomas joined scouts from around the world at the World Scout Jamboree in Japan.

The new Queen’s Scouts have also gained their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards, which were presented to them by Mr Azeem.

The Explorer Scout Commissioner for Woking, Brian Pinto, commented: “To gain these awards the young people have to show extremely high standards, motivation, self-discipline, leadership and commitment in the range of activities and interests as well as community service while building their self-confidence and having fun.”

For the full story get the 18 July edition of the News & Mail