An Aberdeenshire-based Scout leader has been awarded the ‘Silver Acorn’ – one of UK scouting’s highest achievements – at this year’s Good Service Awards.
Chris Pinnell received the prestigious accolade which is awarded for distinguished service over a minimum of 20 years. Good Service Awards recognise members’ achievements and valued contribution to scouting.
Chris, who started his adult scouting journey as a venture Scout leader and commissioner in Falkirk and Hillfoots 40 years ago, said he was honoured to receive the award.
With the restart of Scouting at Easter, regional commissioner Dougie Simmers was able to surprise the Westhill Lyne of Skene Cubs and presented Chris with his certificate and Silver Acorn medal.
Prior to coronavirus, the awards used to be presented at the St George’s Day Awards at Windsor Castle in London, with the ceremony attended by a member of the royal family.
An official date for this year’s formal presentation at Windsor Castle is yet to be announced.
Chris said: “I am greatly honoured to receive this award and I am looking forward to the Windsor parade.
“My Scouting experience has been greatly assisted by the many dedicated Scout leaders who have helped prepare excellent experiences for so many young people, providing many Beavers, Cubs and Scouts with skills for life.
“I continue to get great enjoyment out of Scouting.”
Andrew Sharkey, Scouting’s chief commissioner of Scotland said: “I was absolutely delighted to learn that Chris has been awarded the Silver Acorn at the St George’s Day awards, and I send my personal congratulations on this honour.
“It is richly deserved recognition of the work he has done for Scouting over many years.”
UK Scouting’s chief commissioner Tim Kid also congratulated Chris and said to him directly: “This is for your exceptional service over many years and is a well-deserved award.
“You have truly made a difference to young people’s lives, helping them gain skills for life.”
Chris, who moved to Aberdeenshire in 1990, initially took on the role of an assistant area commissioner for Banff and Buchan and later Gordon district.
He became the Scout leader with Westhill’s Beechwood Troop when he and his family moved to the area in 2000 and became a group Scout leader for Westhill in 2015.
Over the years, Chris has overseen a growth in youth memberships, with Westhill now being one of the north-east’s biggest Scout groups.
In addition, Chris has also been active in Adult Leader Training since 2005. He is currently a member of Scout Scotland HQ Operations Committee and has served a three-year term on the Board of Trustees for Scouts Scotland.
In 2012, as part of the Olympic flame journey around the UK, Chris was nominated to carry an Olympic torch for his work with Scouting and leader training. He carried the torch along Great Western Road in Aberdeen before passing the flame to golfer Colin Montgomery.
Over his 40 year career, Chris has supported and led many international Scouting events, including World Scout Jamborees in Canada, UK, Sweden and Japan, International Jamborettes at Blair Atholl in Perthshire and he has also led Explorer Scout expeditions to Iceland and America.