I’ve not written anything for a while. Not that there hasn’t been any Scouting in my life, just nothing out of the ordinary or exciting / interesting to report.
I was thinking of putting down a few lines today about the death of our ex Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and about some of the nasty, spiteful things people have written online and linking into the Scout law that says “A Scout is Friendly and Considerate”.
However, I’ve changed my mind due to a death a lot closer to home. Ken Johnson, who I have known since I was about 8 or 9 years old, passed away this morning. He’d been in hospital as he’d been receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer and he’d had an operation two weeks ago. Sadly, despite initial good progress, his organs started shutting down and he died today.
Ken had been a Cub in our Pack in the 1950s when his father Amos, was Akela. Incidentally, I’d been scanning some old photos this afternoon and had a couple of Amos and was intending to email them to Ken.
When in 1983, our Scout Troop was restarted, Ken was Assistant Scout Leader, becoming Scout Leader in 1986 when Stephen Padin left us to work for Caltech in California (the commute back for Scout meetings was too much apparently!), Ken became Scout Leader and stayed in this role until about 1990. He remained a supporter of the Group until his death.
There are few of my Scouting memories from this time that do not have Ken in them. From camping and sampling Ken’s home brewed brown ‘pop’, to him driving the minibus and getting us blown off a camp by the tail end of a hurricane(!), him ‘repairing’ me when I tried to saw off my fingers with a bow saw or when I put my hand through a glass window. Then there was his ever present pipe, his deafness and his Renault car that didn’t so much go ‘vroom’, but ‘click, click click’.
He was a kind man, but had a bloody minded streak which meant if he believed he was right, he was!
I last saw him at the Mothering Day service at Church a couple of weeks before Easter, and despite the fact he was due back in to hospital, seemed to be in good spirits. We had a quick chat and I wished him well for his hospital stay (apparently he was please I’d wished him well) and that was it. He was supposed to be out and about by this week and I’m sure I would have seen him soon. Sadly that’s not to be.
Hopefully I’ll be able to go to his funeral to represent the Group (and my Mum & Dad, who’ve known him for years, and are away).
RIP Ken, you’ll be missed.