Proud Scout leader Derek given MBE aged 96 - WATCH
“I might as well keep going – I’d rather be doing that than sitting at home doing my knitting.”
The words of 96-year-old Scout leader Derek Elton, who has been awarded an MBE after more than eight decades of service with the youth movement.
He was presented with his award at one of the places closest to his heart this week – Age Concern Stourbridge and Halesowen’s Elton Centre branch in St John’s Road, Stourbridge, which was named after him.
WATCH: Derek Elton honoured at ceremony
Work on a railway bridge nearby was even put on hold so the centre could open for the special ceremony after being closed for several weeks.
The unsung hero first got involved with the Scouts when he was just 15 years old, and as he edges closer to 100, he still serves as the leader of Kinver Scout Camp – with no intention of stopping.
“I still love it – it’s stupid at my age isn’t it?,” said Mr Elton, who lives in Wollaston, just outside Stourbridge town centre. “I was overcome when they gave it me.
“I’ve been volunteering for the Scouts for years.
“The Scouts has been there most of my life. It has done so much for me and put me on the right lines in life.”
Mr Elton was named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for his services to scouting and the community in Stourbridge.
“It shook me when I found out – I was overcome,” he explained. “I thought they’d got the wrong person.
“I was sworn to secrecy and couldn’t tell anyone, which was difficult. I don’t know how I kept it in.
“I had the official notification and thought it should have been for somebody else. I don’t deserve it.”
The ceremony took place on Monday when the Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE, presented him with his MBE in front of family, friends and Scout members past and present.
“I am most grateful to everyone,” he said. “I have had a super time. I was very anxious though.
“The centre has been closed for five weeks because they’ve just put a new bridge up.
“They finished at the end of the month and we’ve been closed for weeks – they were going to reopen it then found the long retaining wall was unsafe.
“So they’ve got to close it down again and were going to shut it.
“We said you can do what you like – but they kept it open for Monday so we could go ahead.”
Mr Elton added: “I’ve been to Windsor twice to receive awards for scouting and I’ve got the highest award now, now this.
“I’m a bit shaky on my feet at the moment but I’m very well in fact – I feel very well and very fit.”
In 2008 Mr Elton was awarded the Scout movement’s highest honour after nearly 70 years of dedicated service, becoming one of a select few to receive the Silver Wolf.
The award honours members who have given exceptional service. It is given only to members of the Scout movement who have already achieved a Silver Acorn and Silver Acorn with Bar awards.