Tribute to local Scout stalwart

John White
John White

EASTBOURNE Scouting lost one of its oldest members last month when John White died aged 89.

Mr White died in July and at his funeral fellow Scouters paraded their colours and formed a Guard of Honour.

Born in 1922, he began his Scouting when he joined the 5th Sidcup group at the age of 16 and two years later he became their assistant Scoutmaster.

He also served as an ARP messenger at the age of 16 and four years later he joined the Royal Navy where he qualified as a telegraphist, completing his training at St Bede’s School, which was being used by the Navy.

After serving in Egypt in the Y Service, an outstation of Bletchley Park, Mr White was demobbed in 1946 and returned to work in London as an audit clerk. He was awarded the Freedom of Bletchley Park in 2007.

He married Edna in 1949 and they moved to Eastbourne, where he worked as an accountant. He was also a member in the 1960s of Eastbourne Voluntary Lifeguard Corps, served on the Parochial Church Council, and as a Sidesman at St John’s Church.

During his Scouting career Mr White’s service was recognised by the Chief Scout with a Long-Service Decoration and the Medal of Merit in 1969, the Bar to the Medal of Merit in 1979, the Bar to the Long-Service Decoration in 1984, and culminating with the Silver Acorn for exceptional service in 1985.

The following year, he stood in as Eastbourne’s “caretaker” District Commissioner for almost 18 months.

At the 1988 District AGM, Mr White was elected a vice-president of the Eastbourne District Scout Council, as well as later becoming president of the 1st Polegate Scout Group.

He also joined the Scout Fellowship, serving as treasurer for four years and working at Bushy Wood with the Tuesday Gang.

Mr White was one of the first recipients of the newly-created Chief Scout’s Long-Service Award for 40 years’ service in 1999 and also received the Chief Scout’s Long-Service Award for 50 years’ service in 2006, as well the Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex at the First Polegate’s Royal Oak tree-planting ceremony.