'Pride of Britain' nomination for Darwen scouting couple
A PAIR of Darwen scout leaders were nominated in the Pride of Britain Awards after volunteering with youngsters for almost four decades.
Valerie and Jack Baron, of Philip Street, first got involved with the Highfield Scout Group in 1974.
And after 39 years of service, Sue Rogers, an assistant beaver scout leader, nominated the couple for a Local Hero award.
Valerie, 68, and Jack, 79, look after 60 youngsters and have overseen more than 2,500 cubs, scouts and beavers over 39 years.
Valerie said she enjoyed working with the children at the scout group, based at Highfield Church, Edmund Street.
She said: “I love everything about it. I like watching the little ones from six years old and growing up to become responsible citizens. It all started when my son was poorly and couldn’t go to cubs, so I spoke to the group leader and she asked if I knew anyone who could help out.I signed up then and my husband followed soon after.”
Their son, Wayne, who has four children, is also now a cub leader in Ireland.
On being nominated, Mrs Baron said: “We were so proud and so honoured that somebody cared enough to do this.”
Mrs Rogers said: “They have helped children continuously for 40 years.Valerie and Jack are very special people.”
Darwen district commissioner Michael Grime said: “Valerie and Jack have always demonstrated their willingness to assist in all sections of the group and encourage the young people within their charge to progress and become involved in the wider family of scouting.
“Under the direction of Valerie and Jack, the group can often be seen fundraising in Darwen so the youngsters can benefit from new challenges, camps and activities.
“Jack and Valerie are held in high esteem, as caring and responsible leaders in the movement and long may they continue.”
Unfortunately, Mr and Mrs Baron did not make it through to the final of the annual awards show, with Stepping Hill Hospital volunteer Charles Hamilton chosen to represent the North West next Tuesday.
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