EPPING: Scout leader recognised as 'Townsperson of the Year'

Phil Nation

Phil Nation

First published in Your Local Areas East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sub Editor

A SCOUT leader who became known as a tough but kind Arkala during 30 years of volunteering has been named a town’s person of the year.

Phil Nation, 63, was given the Townsperson of the Year 2011 award by Epping Town Council for his work with the Ash pack of the Fourth Epping Cub Scouts on Friday.

“I was absolutely chuffed they thought that highly of me,” he said. “When you’ve been doing something for a very long time, sometimes you think people are not thinking about you.

“You just get on with it and you don’t look for rewards or anything like that.

“The biggest thrill is when you’ve done, for example, a camp or outing and they come up and say ‘it’s really great’.

“I’m a very strict disciplinarian and I don’t take anything from anybody, but the boys know full well that if I say something, they will do it and everything will be ok.

“I’ve been told I’m scary, but I don’t think so. I think they respect me and I respect them.”

He officially retired from his role as Arkala of the pack, which is made up of eight to 10-year-olds, last year, because of back problems, but still attends some Monday night meetings because of a lack of adults coming forward to volunteer.

“It would be nice to see some young blood coming into the group, because I think Fourth is the oldest group in Epping. It’s been going for 60 years.

“I would not have been able to do it if I hadn’t had the help of several people over the years.”

The resident of Fairfield Road, Epping, who runs Wyziwyg Signs in North Weald, said he is still recognised in the street by former cubs he led decades ago.

“Sometimes I walk down the High Street and get old cubs saying ‘hi Arkala’ and they’ve got their wife and kids with them,” he added.

“Some of my boys went on to be airline pilots, one’s in the RAF, one worked on the Star Wars films and a couple were policemen and firemen.

“A couple have been inside, but you can’t make them all perfect. That’s not the idea, it’s to impart a little bit of knowledge.

“By the time they leave cubs, they know full well that if they cross the line, they’re going to be reprimanded for it.”

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Comments (3)

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3:45pm Tue 21 Feb 12

AJS says...

Phil thoroughly deserves this award - as he says, Scout (and Guiding) leaders never ask for thanks or praise but are some of the Country's unsung hero's - it's great to publicly thank him for his invaluable efforts.
Phil thoroughly deserves this award - as he says, Scout (and Guiding) leaders never ask for thanks or praise but are some of the Country's unsung hero's - it's great to publicly thank him for his invaluable efforts. AJS
  • Score: 0

10:41pm Wed 22 Feb 12

BenMurphy says...

I couldn't be more pleased that the Town Council have chosen to recognise Phil Nation through these awards. I actually introduced them in Epping 4 years ago whilst I was Mayor because there were so many people in our community who had gone unrecognised for so long and who would usually shy away from the limelight. Phil is an outstanding example of why the awards are so important, and I say that as one of his former cubs! He is a much-respected Epping resident and local businessman, with a heart of gold and I'm pleased this award goes some way to thank him most sincerely for everything he has done during his scouting career for generations of young people in our community.
I couldn't be more pleased that the Town Council have chosen to recognise Phil Nation through these awards. I actually introduced them in Epping 4 years ago whilst I was Mayor because there were so many people in our community who had gone unrecognised for so long and who would usually shy away from the limelight. Phil is an outstanding example of why the awards are so important, and I say that as one of his former cubs! He is a much-respected Epping resident and local businessman, with a heart of gold and I'm pleased this award goes some way to thank him most sincerely for everything he has done during his scouting career for generations of young people in our community. BenMurphy
  • Score: 0

11:05pm Thu 23 Feb 12

Andy Nation says...

Well done to my big brother! I've always been impressed with the way his straight talking, and willingness to help anyone who is prepared to try to help themselves, has earned people's deep respect for him. Now, at last, it has been deservedly recognised within his community and it makes me very proud to call him 'my brother'! I have been involved in a number of World record events for charity over recent years and he has always been there there to support me. Thanks, Phil, for being my good and reliable big brother!
Well done to my big brother! I've always been impressed with the way his straight talking, and willingness to help anyone who is prepared to try to help themselves, has earned people's deep respect for him. Now, at last, it has been deservedly recognised within his community and it makes me very proud to call him 'my brother'! I have been involved in a number of World record events for charity over recent years and he has always been there there to support me. Thanks, Phil, for being my good and reliable big brother! Andy Nation
  • Score: 0

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