Willesden Scout Group leader retires after 49 years

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 December 2016

Chris Latcham with Maxine Hill, Willesden district commissioner (Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas)

Chris Latcham with Maxine Hill, Willesden district commissioner (Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas)

© Adam Tiernan Thomas

A much loved scout leader who’s served 49 years teaching youngsters was given a surprise retirement send off in Kensal Rise.

Chris Latcham at his retirement party  (Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas)Chris Latcham at his retirement party (Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas)

More than 100 people turned up at Stember Hall in Leighton Gardens, to celebrate Chris Latcham, who has been a member of the 28th Willesden Scout Group since 1957.

Mr Latham, who wished not to give his age, by saying “I tell the children that I’m as old as my tongue and a little bit older than my teeth” said he was shocked when he turned up and saw current and past scouts and even his scout leaders at the party.

He said: “The children kept that quiet, it was absolutely fantastic. I’ve never seen so many people in one room. It will be sad as the weeks go by that I don’t have that weekly commitment anymore but everyone’s accepted it.”

The former print worker comes from a scouting dynasty, having joined the group as an eight year old when his own father was leader.

He became an instructor when he was just 14 promoted to leader at 18.

He said: “I went right through the 28th Willesden and it’s been great fun. All the young people are wonderful, I can’t fault anything, it’s been a lot of fun. There have been so many high points. Being part of the Queen’s Scouts was one, going to Canada and staying with scouting families, a lot of memories.”

He added: “Our scout group is 90 years old this year. We’ve got a lot of memorabilia dating back to 1926. We’ve moved with the times and some of the changes have been good. We’re up to date, we’re in the 21st century.”

Barbara Daniel, treasurer of the group who helped organise the party, said: “There was a lot of reminiscing, it was funny and very touching. A lot of people who live in the community and were led by Chris, and their children led by him, all had their books out from the different camps they went on. We will miss him.”

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