A COMMITTED scout, who joined the organisation 70 years ago, has been honoured with a prestigious award for his dedicated service.

Tony Leadbetter, of Ashworth Park, is the proud recipient of the Silver Wolf – the highest award available made by the Scout Association ‘for services of the most exceptional nature’.

Lord Lieutenant Sir David Briggs and Cheshire Scouts President Sir William Bromley Davenport presented the 77-year-old with the accolade at a ceremony in Cranage Hall last month.

Tony said: “I am delighted. It’s nice to think that your efforts are recognised. The scout organisation is a charity – nobody gets paid – and so it is difficult to say thank you. One way is by this award.”

He was nominated for the award by the district commissioner and district scouters, but it was all kept secret.

In the ‘citation’ – or application for the award – his nominators said he ‘reliable, completely dependable and one of the most recognisable people in scouting in Knutsford’ and therefore ‘worthy of the highest recognition’.

Tony only found out about the nomination when he received a letter from Chief Scout Bear Grylls, who, in turn, informed him he would be awarded with the Silver Wold for his almost 50 years of leadership.

The father-of-two said: “It’s hard to describe how I felt. I didn’t expect it. I get a lot out of scouting and enjoy it immensely.

“I just always felt, if you have got the time, it is nice to put something back into it.”

Tony, who is married to Jean, began his scouting life as a Wolf Cub in Knutsford in 1944. He was the first person to be awarded the Queen’s Scout in Knutsford following the Queen’s Coronation in 1953.

He then became an assistant scout leader with 1st Knutsford in 1954 and later joined the army to complete his National Service. He was posted to a large army base in Germany, where he became assistant scout leader in the troop on the base.

After living for a time in Didsbury, Tony returned to Knutsford in 1968 and helped form the new 5th Knutsford – and has played an important role in Knutsford scouting ever since.

“And I will continue,” he said. “I will carry on as long as I feel I am doing a good job.”