Stoke Newington Scouts raise funds in memory of ‘Silver Wolf’ Les Squire

Les (right) receiving an award for 60 years service in 2012 from the then district commissioner Alan

Les (right) receiving an award for 60 years service in 2012 from the then district commissioner Alan Hands, who is now the district chair for East London Scout District - Credit: Brian Bench

Scouts are raising money for a memorial to their inspirational leader Les “Skip” Squire, who achieved the movement’s highest award - the Silver Wolf.

Les, the founding leader of 7th Stoke Newington Scout Group, died from dementia aged 84 in August. He was active with the scouts until he was taken into hospital two years earlier.

A pupil at Princess May Road School, Les attended his first scout group meeting in 1945 and together with his class mates they held their first camp in Epping Forest, taking borrowed tents on the train from Clapton to Chingford.

In 1951 the group changed its title from the 50th North London to 7th Stoke Newington, then in 1965 they moved from a church in Highbury to a scout hall in Bouverie Road where the group still meets to this day.

Les, of Lavers Road, received an award for 60 years service in 2012 just before his 80th birthday.

Group leader, Brian Bench, told the Gazette: “It is rare for the Silver Wolf to be awarded to someone who has remained in a group but Les’s reputation for inclusion and never turning a child away, no matter what, was well known. This achieved positive outcomes for many individuals who perhaps might not have been able to realise their potential, and rubbed off on all those influenced by his practice which, in turn, they have replicated in fields well beyond just Scouting.”

Brian added: “Times in the scout troop with Skip were full of laughter.

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“We couldn’t get enough scouting and we only slowly became aware of how much of a legend Les was beyond our little corner of North London.

“We are still discovering how much of what we know and do and how we approach our different roles has its roots in things we absorbed instinctively by working and camping with him.”

Bryan Williamson, one of many former Scouts to have donated on the Wonderful crowd funding page, added: “To say goodbye to Skip wouldn’t be right as he is with us on a daily basis in our every day lives. To know the difference between an oak, ash or elm tree, enjoy a shooting star or the constellations, how to cook, tie knots, pitch a tent, read a map and compass, the love of music on a portable gramaphone. You gave us the compass to map out our whole lives. Thank you Skip.”

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