A very excited group left Slinfold after lunch on Saturday 4th June to head north for an overnight stay at The National Forest YH in preparation for the unveiling ceremony of the Lest We Forget Memorial at the National Arboretum the following day.
We arrived tired but excited in the late afternoon and spent a pleasant evening at the hostel chilling out while the really good Explorers even did some GCSE revision!
On Sunday we arrived at the Arboretum and made our way along with Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and leaders from all over the country through the beautiful setting to the place where the memorial has been laid.
It was still a little cloudy but nice and warm and there was a general sense of anticipation and excitement as we were directed to our place across the bank where we would be watching the proceedings.
The VIP’s and invited dignitaries had seats alongside the memorial and we lined the stream opposite. While we waited for everyone to take their places the scout band entertained us with some great tunes, old and new and the sun began to shine!
Paul Little, the project leader, spoke to us about how the memorial came about and the key people involved in its conception, design and ultimate creation.
It was an inspiring story which you can read further on printed on the back cover of the day’s programme, and he went on to introduce and explain all the people invited to unveil each part of the memorial and the reasons why they were there.
We heard some incredibly moving stories, especially as many of the people spoken about are no longer with us and it was their family members that had been invited to be part of this day and do the job on their behalf.
We learnt about the three Explorers (seen in this picture) that were the ones that came up with the original idea of there being a permanent memorial to those lost in Scouting and that it was their hard work and determination that enabled it to happen.
We were introduced to Connor White who was cub when he designed the Lest We Forget badge that we and 165,000 others across the world have worn on our uniforms to raise the funds needed for the creation of this memorial! When we had heard their stories and everyone was in place a countdown was shouted and the memorial itself unveiled, beautiful in its simplicity, depicting in a campfire scene the different elements that capture all that is important to us in Scouting.
Wayne Bulpitt brought the ceremony to a close by speaking of the enormity of the commitment from everyone involved in the project and what it means for The Scout Association to now, and for many years to come, have this memoral for people to visit and remember those important to them.
In the beautiful sunshine we were brought to attention again for the last post and dismissed.
Quietly we were then able to take some time to walk and look around the Memorial ourselves, taking in every amazing detail. It Is a wonderful creation and completely captures the spirit of Scouting, we know that it will bring pleasure to all who are lucky enough to visit and spend time sitting among the campfire circle.
The Days Programme
Story submitted by the Scouts and Leaders – Slinfold Scout Group