Luton Scouts Archive

6th April 2016

The Ray Aldous Story

As an eleven year old in 1944 I joined what was known as the Boy Scouts becoming a member of the 7th Luton Troop. My father, who was a Sea Scout in his youth, soon became a fund raiser and stayed with the group for the rest of his life.

I became a Scout then a Senior Scout until at the age of 18 I was “called up“ for National Service and conscripted into the R.A.F. I was posted to the Suez Canal zone of Egypt where I was surprised to find `Scouts` who were the sons of Officers and Airmen.

I joined the 2nd Gt. Bitter Lake group as an assistant Scout Master putting over all the things I had learnt as a Scout. Scouting in Egypt was different to what I was used to. Hiking and other out-of-camp activities were restricted. But I managed to join the married families swimming party thanks to a member of the troop who stated, “He`s our Scout Master and he is teaching us to swim”.

There were 10 Groups in the British Scouts Egypt District scattered along the 100 miles of lakes and canal and we would travel to the neighbouring camps for joint activities.

 

I remember being invited to send Scouts to the coming-of-age jamboree held in Cyprus. I was also there as a member of the Rover crew. It was a seven day camp but there was a hiccup about our return. Apparently, our return travel had not been booked so we had to remain in Cyprus ‘on duty’ for another 12 days. We were attached to the Army barracks in Nicosa who looked after us providing us with food etc…

We remained at the campsite looking after ourselves. We kept ourselves busy and the Rover crew were tasked with erecting a very large marquee on a stretch of concrete a feat we accomplished with some difficulty. We then became waiters serving food and drinks for the afternoon. We were rewarded with a mighty feast.

In 1953 we held our summer camp 5,000 feet up in the Troodos mountains. It was wonderful. The boys had the opportunity to practice Scouting skills that they had never tried before such as mountaineering and abseiling.

To mark the coronation of the Queen there was a large parade held and yes my troop were again involved this time distributing the order of service to the NCO`s & Officers wives viewing the parade.

Again I was ordered to be part of the armed guard being tasked with organising a boat trip for the school children to a Royal Navy frigate moored in the lake.

My final activity was attending the Chief Scout`s rally at Ismalia. He was visiting Cyprus and came to see us in Egypt as part of his tour. A month after returning to the UK in 1954 I had the pleasure of meeting the Chief Scout again at the County camp in Ampthill.

I re-joined the 7th Luton (now renamed Sell`s Seventh) and continued my Scouting as Scout Master later ADC Scouts then settling into public relations a role I am still involved with today after 63 years of active service.

The pinnacle of my scouting career last year was being awarded the MBE by Her Majesty The Queen for services to Scouting, an honour I still find hard to believe one year on.

 

Luton Today : The Luton News, Hearld & Post 12th June 2109
Obituary: Peter Sutherst put Scouting in Luton in the spotlight

A man who was recognised for his distinguished service to Scouting died on June 8 at the age of 86 following illness.
As a former Scouts media manager Peter Sutherst kept the local press informed with the latest news from Bedfordshire County, Luton Town, Falkes and the old Sommeries Districts, helping to put Scouting out there for the public to see.
During his time with Luton Scouts media team, he was instrumental in producing the Luton Town Scouting website and Luton Scout Facebook page, maintaining high standards with both.
Keen Hatters fan Peter, of Mount Grace Road, Luton, found a sponsor for the Luton Scouts media team which helped promote Scouting with the local papers and radio. He penned his first press release in 1969.

The Young Spokespersons courses came about because of Peter. He ran a course back in the mid 2000s, then helped bring about the 2017-18 courses which were aimed at youth members aged 14-25 who were keen to promote Scouting and learn more about the media.
Peter was the first person to receive the award of National Media Manager twice for the quantity and quality of Bedfordshire Scouting promoted in the various forms of media and he was heavily involved when Bear Grylls visited the county for the water day at Luton Hoo in 2013.
Peter was at his busiest at investigations. Like finding out that British Olympians had been in Scouting or highlighting the plight of two groups in Luton who had the compulsory purchase of their premises by the Borough Council and that their rates would increase by up to 5,500%, which helped bring down the charges.
Peter received a Silver Acorn in 2011 for his service to Scouting and was involved in Scouting for over 50 years.

In his professional life, Peter had been an aerial photographer with the RAF and Coastal Command before joining Kodak in 1960 where he became training and publications manager with responsibility for laboratory staff in the European region.
He graduated as an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photographers in 1963 and was awarded a Fellowship for services to the industry when he retired in 1994.
Peter was also involve in some high profile court cases regarding the validity of any pictures.
He used his expertise and experience to great effect with the Scouts.
“I must have taken at least a thousand pics a year, ” he told the Luton News in 2014. “And I developed skills in publicity along the way.”
Gerald Law, Luton Scouts Media Manager, said: “Watching Peter find stories out of nowhere and turn it into a newspaper article, a radio interview and for the Scouting Magazine was breathtaking.
“Peter was a one-stop shop media activity person who has raised the quality of media wherever, whenever and whoever he comes into contact with.
“His knowledge and experience will be hard to replace.
“It was a privilege to work with Peter.
“He is a hard act to follow but try we must.
“Our thoughts go out to his wife Cynthia and their family.”

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls