Tony Bolton OBE

Tony Bolton was well known to members of this County, from the 1960’s to 1991 when he retired, as a very successful Field Commissioner for Greater London.

He will be  remembered for his work as the official “face” of Scouting in London, representing Scouting to the authorities in London including membership of the London Youth Committee. He chaired both the Greater London and the Inner London Standing Conferences of Voluntary Youth Organisations. He organised the Scouts involved in State Occasions including: Queen’s Scouts assisting at the Royal Garden Parties for over 19 years, the State Opening of Parliament, Royal Weddings, the Festival of Remembrance, the distribution of service sheets in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday and providing the Scout Route Lining Party for the Queen at the Old Home Office Building.

Not many will know that he joined the Movement at the age of 14, was an Assistant Scout Leader at age 19 and then Scout Leader of 9th Odiham Scout Group, and following that he was Scout Leader of 1st Farnborough Scout Group. He became District Scout Leader and then Assistant District Commissioner (Scouts) for Aldershot. He trained as an industrial photographer with the Ministry of Defence and was a photographer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. In his spare time Tony enjoyed walking, arts and music.

He joined the full-time staff of the Scout Association in 1962 as Resident Assistant Warden of Baden-Powell House. He became Assistant Training Secretary and Secretary to the National Scout Board where he took a major part in the preparation and implementation of The Advance Party Report in 1965 which introduced Venture Scouts and the New Uniform. He was a founder member of the Greater London Association for the Disabled. He was co-ordinator for the Great Ormond Street Wishing Well Appeal, raising money to equip the Leukaemia Ward.

Tony became Field Commissioner for the then 7 Scout Counties of Greater London in 1969 and held this position, including later also the Scout County of Essex, until he retired in 1991.

I remember attending his retirement ceremony which took place at the Museum of London. Venture Scouts will remember the Viking Venture expeditions and Scout cruises which Tony organised. He was responsible for several Scout publications including “A Short Course of Patrol Leader Training” and “Camping Standards” and assisted in the production of several Scout Association Handbooks.

After retirement from the Scout Association, Tony became County Secretary for Greater London Central which included some of the Districts which are now part of this County. His service was recognised by HM The Queen with the award of the MBE in 1988 “for outstanding work for youth and for Scouting”. He was awarded the Silver Wolf in 1984, the Green Lily by the Chief Scout of Norway in 1971 for services to the Norwegian Scouts in England, and the Red Lily of Sweden.

Tony’s good humour endeared him to many hundreds of Leaders and young people in London and he will be remembered by those of us who had the privilege to work with him.

Bob May

 

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