12:39PM, Saturday 14 July 2012
A scout leader has been awarded a Silver Acorn which recognises a period of distinguished service of more then 20 years.
Simon Wheeler has been a leader at Pinkneys Green Scouts (PGS) for 36 years and seen hundreds of children pass through the group.
He was presented with the award by County Commissioner Hamish Stout.
The 55-year-old said: "I received this on behalf of all the youngsters. I'm very proud and it's a great honour."
His recognition carries on a family tradition after his father served as a treasurer at the scout group for more than 30 years.
His aunt and uncle also volunteered as leaders at the group which is based in Winter Hill Road.
Simon, of Powney Road, first joined as a cub when he was eight and says he has enjoyed it ever since.
"It's nice to give something back and to be able to teach them independence, responsibility and help them make friends.
"When you see them change from a six-year-old to an 18-year-old and how they grow up, it's amazing."
Despite many changes to scouting over the years Simon believes it remains as popular as ever for youngsters. "They enjoy it, they like the independence and like going outside and getting muddy and doing things with friends."
Simon divides his time between working as a computer programmer and volunteering at the scout group.
He is arranging a two-week scout trip to Oxfordshire and says he has no plans to stop any time soon. "I'll continue for as long as I enjoy it."
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