By Dan Coles
A scout leader who was set to retire after 70 years has been gifted a new lease of life after his troop pitched in to get him a mobility scooter.
Frank Crowley, 83, from London, has been in the scouts for over 70 years and a scout leader for half a century, but faced having to stand down from his post when he struggled to get around.
But the Swindon 19th Scout Group couldn’t bear to see him leave and have raised enough cash to be able to buy a mobility scooter for him so he can keep attending meetings.
Over the last seven decades, Frank has been awarded multiple badges and medals for his dedication to the scouts, even picking up the Silver Wolf medal, which is the highest award a scout can receive.
Frank said: “I’ve been a scout since forever, ever since I was a boy.
“I loved all of it growing up, I think it was a bit better when I was a boy because I preferred the uniform, I like the shorts and cap as well as the scarf, but that was when I was a cub.
“Nowadays I go to two meetings a week and start the evening off with raising the flags for the cubs and scouts.
“With getting older I am more there as a figure, just someone who has lots of experience and can help with the traditions of the scouts.
“I really enjoy being there, people forget what you can learn from a child, it’s usually something you can’t remember so it’s nice to be there to learn the things I forgot I knew.
“Without the troop meetings I wouldn’t have a lot to do, I would be lost without my troop, I wish I could be there more but its hard to get there and back.
“They must still want me there as well because when I’m not there they want to find out why.
“I’ve tried to retire a couple of times and they just won’t let me, now that my walking isn’t very good they all bought me a mobility scooter which was such a kind thing to do and I’m so grateful.
“I’m going to keep going for as long as I can, and now that I have my scooter, I can be there for much longer than I thought which is wonderful.
Frank first joined the scouts in London, but after 50 years moved to Swindon when a chance encounter led him to joining Swindon 19th after a local vicar asked him to consider being the church troop leader and has been their leader ever since.
Unfortunately, when Frank moved, most of his scout badges and certificates were lost in transit, so over the last 10 years he’s been building up his collection.
Frank said: “Everything got misplaced when I moved, it was such a shame, I was most annoyed.
“These are things you can’t replace and I can’t go and buy new ones but I’m still quite happy working from day-to-day doing the activities I can.
“I just get up in the morning, I’m alive, it’s another day and it’s scout night tonight.”
Sarah Simpkins, a scout member who arranged the purchase of the scooter for frank, said: “Frank is our Honorary President, we gave him this “title” not long ago due to the respect we all hold for him.
“He has always, up until recently, attended almost every event and activity we’ve done, including going on Beaver Day Camps, he’s an absolute legend.
“His reaction to getting the scooter was priceless.”