Silver Acorn and Silver Wolf

There is no doubt that those listed below fully deserve the awards they have received but many readers will also be able to provide the names of several more that they believe should perhaps also be on the list. Until the presentation of awards was put on a more formal structure, decisions as to who should be recognised and when they should be recognised, appears to have been a little haphazard.

The very first awards made to Scouters in our District did not occur until 1937 when the Medal of Merit was awarded to Mr G Ballinger, ‘Pop’ Barclay and William Kelsall. At that time this was considered to be the major award available to leaders. The next recipients were, in 1940, Charlie Lilly and Charlie Roberts

The first Silver Acorn to be awarded was in 1941 to Melville Basillie, although he was the GSM of the 186th North London, they were not part of Finchley and Friern Barnet at the time. The next two, the first for Finchley, were awarded, in 1952, to Charlie Roberts and ‘Pop’ Barclay who had both provided more than 30 years’ service.

It is not possible to list all those who have been awarded a Medal of Merit but we have tried to include as many as possible in the individual Group articles that have been produced.

We will leave you to privately ponder about those you believe should have been included whilst being grateful for the amount of spare time they devoted to Scouting.

Notwithstanding the above it is pleasing to note that since 2008 when Barnet Borough District was formed, there has been a substantial increase in the number of Silver Acorns and Silver Wolfs presented to those connected to Finchley, Friern Barnet and Golders Green.



  • The illustrations below show the current (2023) designs of the awards, together with the necessary requirements, that need to be considered before being made.
  • Those listed were, at the time of their initial award, a member of Finchley, Friern Barnet or Golders Green, whether or not it was before they merged with Finchley or subsequently Finchley and Friern Barnet. We have tried to list the role being undertaken at the time of the first award as well as the Group they were originally a member of.

The Silver Acorn

Awarded after at least 20 years’ service, which should be specially distinguished and appreciably better than outstanding.

Bar to the Silver Acorn

Awarded after at least five years of similarly distinguished service after receiving the Silver Acorn.

The Silver Wolf

This award is the unrestricted gift of the Chief Scout. It’s only awarded for service of a most exceptional nature.



Awards made

Cyril Allen

Silver Acorn – 1957 Silver Wolf – 1965

Cyril, born in 1902, was never a Wolf Cub or Scout but first became involved in Scouting with the 6th Chatham. He was an Assistant Scout Master there from 1921 until 1924.

Upon moving north of the river he became involved with Scouting in Finchley and in 1925 helped to form the 7th Finchley. By 1937 he was their Group Scout Master (GSM) but relinquished that role when he was appointed Assistant District Commissioner (Scouts).

During 1942 Cyril played a key role in establishing the 1st Finchley Air Scouts and became their GSM. In the winter they met on Wednesday evenings and in the summer at Frith Grange, where in 1943 he also became the Warden.

Cyril was a local government officer in Hornsey and during the war he was responsible for housing the homeless. His main interest outside of Scouting was archery and he was a founder member of the Hornsey Bowmen, where he later became their president.

In 1944 he was awarded the Medal of Merit and in 1947 he was appointed the District Commissioner (DC). At that time, in order to devote more time to his new task, he resigned his position with the Air Scouts. He remained DC until 1968 and for his distinguished services to Scouting he was awarded the Silver Acorn in 1957 and the Silver Wolf in 1965.

Cyril died in 1968 shortly after he retired. A year later, when the new training building was opened at Frith Grange, it was named in his memory.

Melville Balsillie OBE DL

Silver Acorn – 1941 Silver Wolf – 1957

Melville was born in Glasgow in 1905 and shortly after his father’s death he moved to London. At the age of 11 he joined the 63rd North London Scout Group and later became a King’s Scout. His first Warrant was as an Assistant Cub Master and then in 1928 as Scout Master. In about 1929/30 he transferred to the 186th North London and eventually became the Group Scoutmaster. He was awarded the Medal of Merit in 1938.

At the outbreak of war he joined the Fire Service and then the Royal Air Force. Part of his service included a spell in Canada as the Director of Posting Command. During this period he was also the leader of 2 Derbert RAF Rover Crew. The Silver Acorn was awarded to him in 1941. At the end of the war he left the Royal Air Force as a Squadron Leader, and on his return to civilian life he immediately returned to Scouting at the 186th NL.

Around the same time he was invited to become a member of the Scout Associations’ Post-War Commission to study the future pattern of Scouting. In undertaking this task he played a key role in the introduction of Senior Scouts in 1946.

Melville was employed by the Clydesdale Bank and they transferred him Scotland. There he became the ACC (Rover Scouts) in Midlothian, where he tested his long held theories on the development of the older Scout, through adventurous activities, by organising Mountain-craft and Leadership Courses. During this time he was inspired to find a permanent base for Scouts to train Hike Leaders in the Scottish Highlands.

Upon his relocation to London in 1950, Melville lived in Barnet and then started a long and distinguished association with Hertfordshire District Scouts. As a result of his reputation he became the ACC (Senior Scouts). In 1957 he was awarded the Silver Wolf ‘In recognition of service of the most exceptional character in Hertfordshire and London over a period of 30 years’.

In 1960 his search for a Scottish base was over – he found Lochearnhead Station. The station consisting of 5 1/2 acres of ground and a platform 200 yards long, was originally opened in 1904 but by 1951, when trunk roads were built, the station became less used and was eventually left to become derelict. Melville negotiated a 21 year lease with British Rail and on the 4th August 1962 Lochearnhead Scout Station was opened. In 1977, before the lease expired, the station was purchased from British Rail. In 1995, with a substantial sum having been spent, new facilities were opened that provided a new toilet and shower block and new sleeping accommodation for 48 young people and 36 leaders.

Later in 1962 he was appointed County Commissioner and in 1968 was awarded an O.B.E. in recognition of his services to Scouting and the community. He retired from Scouting in 1971 although he retained contact with the Movement by becoming County Treasurer to the Hertfordshire Girl Guides and Chairman of the Lochearnhend Scout Station Committee. In the same year he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.

Melville also wrote a number of books on Scouting. The first of them, “Running a Senior Scout Troop” became a textbook for Senior Scouts, and later in conjunction with Mr J. Westwood he wrote “Mid Moor and Mountain” the proceeds of which were allocated towards the creation of the Scout Centre in the highlands.

Apart from his Scouting activities Melville was a deacon of the Ward Congregational Church, a member of the Executive of the Hertfordshire Council of Social Service, a member of the Hertfordshire County Council County Youth and Community Advisory Committee, and Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Hertfordshire Association of Youth Clubs.

Melville died in 1973 and as reported in the July issue of ‘Scouting’ magazine ‘Melville was one of the great natural leaders, both of men and boys, who have served the Movement’.

William Laing ‘Pop’ Barclay

Silver Acorn – 1952 Bar – 1965 Silver Wolf – 1969

William Barclay, born in Hornsey in 1889 of Scottish parents, devoted most of life to Scouting and in particular the 10th Finchley.

Known as ‘Pop’ Barclay he was an Assistant Scout Master with the 1st Muswell Hill when, in 1914, he was invited by St Barnabas’ Church in North Finchley to advise them on starting a Scout Troop. As a result it was not long before he found himself the leader of a new Group, which within a few years became the 10th Finchley (Scottish) Scout Group.

Initially the Group met in the Parish Hall in Gainsborough Road but shortly after found a more permanent home at Moss Hall Stables in Nether Street. More moves followed until 1938 when they settled in Gordon Hall, which had been built especially for them.

During the Great War ‘Pop’ served as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Artillery Garrison and while serving he received shrapnel wounds to his leg. In Scouting he undertook a number of different roles; at one time he was a District Scout Master, the Chairman of the District sports committee and the District representative on the London Scout Council.

‘Pop’ is also credited with being responsible for the introduction of Scouting in Liechtenstein following the Group’s Summer Camp there in 1931. They were fortunate that the Prince made the grounds of his castle in Vaduz available for them to use. He remained friends with the Prince and was made an honorary SM of the Liechtenstein Troop.

In 1937 ‘Pop’ was one of the first Scouters in Finchley to be awarded the Medal of Merit for his service. In 1952 after nearly 40 years he became only the second person from the District to be awarded the Silver Acorn, and in 1969 only the third to receive the Silver Wolf.

Away from Scouting ‘Pop’ was granted the Freedom of the City of London in 1921 and was the founder and past Master of the Childs Hill Masonic Lodge.

‘Pop’, who was held in high esteem and affection by all who knew him, retired from Scouting in October 1969 aged 80. Sadly he died the following March having been in failing health for several weeks.

Sidney Collins

Silver Acorn – 1980 Bar – 1990

Sid was a member of the 11th Finchley for 37 years before continuing his Scouting service as an Assistant District Commissioner. Born in 1926 he joined the Wolf Cubs at the age of 8 and later became a Scout.

During the war he was old enough to provide service as a stretcher bearer at Finchley Memorial Hospital. He was a Rover immediately following the hostilities and in 1947 became an Assistant Scout Master.

In 1955 he became the Group Scout Master and in 1963, after helping to secure a lease on some land, he oversaw the lengthy process of clearing the site and the erection of their headquarters in Woodside Grange Road.

In December 1968 Sid was awarded the Medal of Merit and when the new headquarters was officially opened in April 1971 he left the Group to become the ADC overseeing camps. Sid quietly and efficiently got on with his responsibilities and in 1980 he was presented with the Silver Acorn for the good work and service he had provided for most of his life. Ten years later he received the Bar to the Silver Acorn.

Sid’s death in 1994 was entirely unexpected and came as a shock to all that knew him. At that time he was described as the sort of man who became almost indispensable in their willingness to undertake any job. As a memorial a bench was placed at Frith Grange, the District camping ground.

Leslie Cornish

Silver Acorn – 1990

Peter 'Jumbo' Davis

Silver Acorn – 1978 Bar – 1986

Alan Fensome

Silver Acorn – 1984 Silver Wolf – 1990

Alan spent his whole life as a member of the 15th Finchley. As the son of a founding member he joined the Wolf Cubs at an early age and went on to be a Scout. He later became a leader, holding the position of Scout Master from 1942 until 1968, and then as the Group Scout Leader until 1991. And, after that he still continued to ‘help out’.

He came from a family of builders who were dedicated Scouts. They built ‘Utopia’, the Group’s headquarters in Grove Road, in the 1930s and even in those early days Alan got involved by being tea-boy for the workmen!

By the time the Second World War started Alan was helping Charlie Roberts to run the Troop, and even took responsibility for other Troops while their leaders were involved in military duties. Alan also directed the 15th in building over 200 Morrison Shelters, including the first one in Finchley in May 1941 and acted as a fire warden for ‘Utopia’.

Alan joined the Navy in 1941 when he was only sixteen. He should have been eighteen but fibbed about his age! He spent three years patrolling the waters and searching for enemy ships around Hong Kong and Australia.

It has been reported that even while away he would write to the Group, setting quiz questions that would get the Scouts out and about. One such question was ‘What is the inscription on the granite plinth of La Délivrance’, the statue located a Henly’s Corner?’. He didn’t know if there was one, or even a granite plinth, but he would soon be told by the Patrol Leaders.

After the war he returned as the Scout Master/Leader. His knowledge of scoutcraft was immense; he knew of course all the trees and their burning properties, Morse code, semaphore, how to tie a Carrick Bend and so much more, and nothing pleased him more than passing this knowledge on to the young ones. He was one of those people who could hold a wide range of ages enthralled as he spoke.

Having been a builder for many years, at the age of 40 he set his mind on becoming a teacher where he could use his skills of motivation and leadership to educate young people. His greatest educational achievement was the establishment of curriculum centres in Barnet and Grahame Park. He taught practical building skills and showed how even the most disaffected pupils could learn a skill that would give them a real opportunity in life.

In the early 1980s Alan was involved in a promotional video for Scouting in which he was seen investing a Scout and, in 1989 the launch of the first sponsored Scout badge. Pentland Industries in Squires Lane became the sponsors of the Athlete’s badge and the launch involved a presentation of practical Scouting to then Chief Scout, Garth Morrison and Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister and local MP.

Alan was a dedicated leader – his inspirational and infectious enthusiasm, his determination, sense of purpose, his desire for high standards profoundly spread far and wide. As a result, in 1990 he was awarded the highest Scouting honour, the Silver Wolf, having been awarded the Silver Acorn in 1984.

In retirement he took up bowls, and with his excellent singing voice took part in reviews put on by the Gainsborough Players. This was in addition to his lifelong joy of gardening.

Alan died in 2002 – a great loss to Scouting and all that knew him.


A typical story recounted by his wife Grace was when one night, Stanhope Road was bombed. He rushed out of the hall to check the road for casualties and found some houses demolished. Alan heard the sound of screaming and managed to rescue an old lady by carrying her down the damaged staircase, but not before he had found her false teeth in a cup under the bed!

In 1947 Alan and 3 other members of the Group attended the 1947 World Jamboree in France. He was not part of the Finchley contingent but cycled there with Wilf Hewitt.

Alan also never gave up on anything or anybody; he even learned to play the bagpipes for a function! And one Christmas he spent searching the drains for a set of false teeth which had been flushed away by a guest, eventually finding them down a drain in the next road!

He had a strong sense of family; his wife Grace, and their four children all benefitted from his strong encouragement, guidance and beliefs. He motivated the children in schooling, music, and enjoyed having family adventures. One year as a result of their pleas to have a holiday abroad he turned his builder’s van into a caravan and took them all abroad.

Alan touched the lives of so many and had a belief in people. He was able to steer and guide them to achieve many things – there are hundreds of Scouts and others who owe him so much. It is a testament to Alan that so many of his Scouts ended up running Troops and Groups of their own.

Alan Fensome was the kind of man everyone should meet.

Snippets from 15th Finchley’s ‘Our Story’

Grace Fensome

Silver Acorn – 2008

In 1947 Grace (nee Bramley) was more than just the girlfriend of Alan Fensome, she was also providing valuable behind the scenes help for the 15th Finchley. She made cakes for Saturday socials, and Sunday afternoon walks turned into hike planning for Patrol Leaders. When they came to marry in 1953 the wedding date had to be fitted between Spring camp and a two week Summer camp in Jersey.

After raising four children Grace eventually donned a uniform and by the mid 70s she was the Akela. She built a team of adult helpers to assist her in running the Cub Pack and they delivered a full programme of training and fun. This resulted in a growth in numbers and the subsequent need to open a second Pack.

In 1983 when Venture Scouting opened the door to female members Grace handed over the reins of the Cub pack and became an Assistant to Tony Gait the Venture Scout Leaders. A year later Grace was awarded the Medal of Merit and another year later when Beavers were introduced she played a pivotal role in ensuring a colony was formed at the 15th.

When Alan retired as GSL at the start of the 90s Grace took over and held the position until 1995 when she also retired. However, her contribution to the 15th did not stop. After being made an Honorary President of the Group she served as a member of the Group Executive, became the caretaker and lettings officer for ‘Utopia’, edited the Group’s magazine and organised their annual Dinner and Dance. In 1997 she was awarded the Bar to the Medal of Merit.

Grace also provided support at District level. When the new training scheme came in Grace was one of the first to become qualified as a Training Adviser and worked with new Scouters to help them through the various stages of the scheme. She was a major player in helping with the development of Frith Grange, working as a member of the Crew on a regular basis. For a while she was the editor of the District magazine ‘Focus’ and she also served for a term as the District President.

Prior to the District merge in 2008 Grace was awarded the Silver Acorn, having provided more than 30 year’s service to Scouting.

Sadly Grace died in April 2023. The 15th Finchley book ‘Our Story’ describes Grace as their Hidden Treasure. They were not wrong about that.

Tony Gait

Silver Acorn – 2000 Silver Wolf – 2014

Tony’s home town is Plymouth which is where he started his Scouting, having joined the 21st Plymouth in 1957 at the age of 11. He gained his Queen’s Scout Badge in 1963 and the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award in 1965. Tony then became an Assistant Cub Master and held a warrant from 1965 to 1971.

Following a move to London with his employers he made contact with the 15th Finchley and Alan Fensome immediately signed him up as one of his Assistant Scout Leaders. When Alan Fensome became the Group Scout Leader in 1972 Alan Lake took over for a year, before Tony took on the role.

In about 1980 Tony also started to help Frank Philip with the Venture Scout Unit, eventually becoming the leader and passing on leadership of the Scouts to Paul Clemens. When Venture Scouts opened their door to females he was assisted by Grace Fensome. At about the same time Tony became the Assistant GSL and in 1986 he was awarded the Medal of Merit.

A highlight of Tony’s tenure as the VS Leader was in 1990, when he and Steve Ablet, his assistant, led a group of Venture Scouts on a 35 day expedition to Nepal. While one of their objectives was to visit the Everest Base Camp, they also spent 2 days of the climb at Tengboche, at the suggestion of Sir Edmund Hillary, where they helped to clear the site in preparation for the rebuilding of the monastery that had burnt down.

In 1996 Tony became the Frith Grange Camp Warden, a position he still holds today (2023). Additionally, in 1999, because he was qualified for land, sea and air activities, he was asked to be the Assistant County Commissioner (Activities), a job he held until 2008. In April 2000 Tony was awarded the Silver Acorn and in April 2014 the Silver Wolf.

Mabel Gordon

Silver Acorn – 1988

Wilfred Hewitt

Silver Acorn – 1970

Wilf joined the 15th Finchley, aged 13, in March 1919 as one of its founding members. He had previously been a member of the 10th Finchley with Pop Barclay. As he lived in Churchfield Avenue, he took the opportunity to join a Group closer to home.

He attended the 1924 Jamboree in Denmark. Later, while Scouting away from Finchley, he took boys to the Jamboree in 1929 at Arrowe Park, Birkenhead and in 1937 to the Netherlands. Wilf also attended the World Jamboree in France in1947, cycling there with Alan Fensome, and as a visitor with Alan to the Golden Jubilee Jamboree at Sutton Coldfield in 1957.

Wilf was a school teacher. He studied part time at London University as well as while away camping, and gained a BA Honours Degree. He taught Maths, English, French, Latin and PE at a number of different independent schools throughout the country. The school he was at when the war started was evacuated to Scotland, and that is where he remained for the duration.

In 1946 he eventually settled at Haberdasher Askes School, initially in Cricklewood as a Maths teacher, where he also quickly became involved with their Army Cadet Corps. He gained the rank of Captain, putting to use all his scouting skills; camping, map & compass work and first aid and was also awarded the Territorial Medal.

One benefit of Wilf’s return to North London was his return to Scouting in Finchley and in 1948 he became ADC. Senior Scouts for Finchley District. He made an immediate impact. putting the Senior Scouts through intensive training to achieve their potential in various aspects of hiking and camping, and he was greatly admired and thanked by those whose lives he influenced.

Wilf was awarded the Silver Acorn in 1970 having given 48 years of Service to the Movement and having previously been awarded the Medal of Merit, It was shortly after this that he retired from Scouting.

Even after he had officially retired from Haberdashers’ Askes, in 1976, he still went into the school two or three days a week to coach boys who had failed their maths exam, and he was also happy to coach, free of charge, any Scout that was having difficulty with Maths or English.

However, most people will best remember Wilf for his wonderful selection of First Class hikes: he gave instructions in little handwritten booklets which gave the routes, places of interest and possible campsites as well as requirements to fill in forms left in tins hidden around the route. He eventually became ADC Camps and Journeys enabling even more Scouts to benefit from his knowledge and enthusiasm.

Wilf died in 1997 and a bench has been placed at Frith Grange in his memory.


When Wilf visited us at camp he would sleep in the smallest one man bivouac I had ever seen.

Roger Watkins – 5th Finchley

I did a couple of Wilf’s hikes and loved looking for the hidden canisters and him telling me not to ask the locals the way. When I went to his house to talk about the hike he offered me some cheese, many with names I had never heard of before.

Peter Cox – 9th Finchley

By the time I found one of the tins I had lost my pen and ended up signing the piece of paper using the end of a match.

Graham Hicks – 6th Finchley

A great memory is of my practice First Class Hike – 14 miles including an overnight stop. The routes were given to us in little books written by the inestimable Wilf Hewitt. People who recall them will remember the clue tins he left hidden round the route which we had to sign. These hikes were done in pairs so one Scout was the leader and the other was doing a practice hike. I did my practice hike in October 1964 with Tony Frost from Chesham to Watford.

His example of the Scout way of life will live on in the memories of all who met him and they can feel really proud when they say, “I knew Wilf Hewitt”.

Frank Phillip – 15th Finchley

I remember that when Wilf visited our Venture Scout camp in Lochearnhead (not the Hertfordshire Station site) for a few days, he drove us in his Triumph Herald to Fort William so that we could climb Ben Nevis.

Graham Beevor – Avenue House Venture Scouts

Martin How

Silver Acorn – 2003

Martin had a very interesting start to his time in Scouting. He joined the Wolf Cubs in Sefton Park, Liverpool just before King George VI died. Having made his promise to ‘God and the King’ a week later it changed to ‘God and the Queen’.

Not long after his parents moved to Kuwait and he went to a Boarding School in Baghdad. As a result he joined an Arab Scout Group and became the only English member of an American School in Iraq. A year later he returned to England to continue his education at a boarding school near Christchurch. They had Sea Scouts; 18th Christchurch – Hurn Court, which he joined and remained a member of until he was a Senior Scout and left the school.

Martin’s next move was to Hornsey, London where he spent some time in the RAF before seeking other employment. At the Job Centre they noticed his Scout badge and before long, as well as having a new job he was an Assistant Cub Master with the 222nd North London (Christchurch, Crouch End). During his time there he undertook a number of different roles including Cub Master Scout Leader, Scouter in Charge and for a short while District Cub Scout Leader. Additionally he helped start their Venture Scout Unit and during his time there was awarded two Long Service Awards.

In 1975 Martin got married and moved to Finchley where, after discovering that the 6th Finchley needed help, he became an ASL before becoming the SL. Later he became a District Scout Leader and subsequently the ADC (Scouts). In 1988 he was awarded a long overdue Medal of Merit. Ten years later the County Commissioner (Steve Taylor, one time DC for Finchley, Friern Barnet and Golders Green) asked him to take on the DC role, a position he then held until August 2007. In 2003 he was awarded the Silver Acorn for his service to Scouting.

After a short break Martin was appointed ACC in charge of Programmes & Development and the Leader Training Manager for Haringey. In 2011 he became the County Training Manager but upon being diagnosed with cancer in 2015 he ceased active Scouting. At the same time he received a 50 years Long Service Award.

Martin is still involved with Scouting, as a member of Scout Active Support, although having since had two hip replacements he is now not that active.

Clinton Hudgell

Silver Acorn – 2004

In 1958 at the age of 8 Clinton joined the 11th Finchley Cubs, the same as his father Ted had done some 28 years earlier. He later joined the Scouts and under the guidance of Peter Trollope became a Patrol Leader. He was later a Senior Scout and after the changes, brought about by the Advance Party report in 1966, a Venture Scout.

When Peter became the GSL, in 1969, Clinton, aged 19, became the Scout Leader and was assisted by Ian Wright and Richard Eastoe.

After nearly ten years in charge of the Troop Clinton became the Venture Scout Leaders and at the same time took on the role of District Venture Scout Leader, assisting Les Cornish who was the ADC.

When Peter Trollope moved on in 1983 Clinton took over as the GSL and spent much of his time overseeing the negotiations and building of the Group’s new HQ that opened in 1990. During this time (1986) he was awarded the Medal of Merit.

The Group continued to thrive under his leadership and at one time during the early 1990s there were 60 Venture Scouts, 60 Scouts and 50 Cubs. In 2004 his service to the Movement was recognised by being awarded the Silver Acorn.

In 2009 a year after the District merged he retired as the GSL, with Mark Trollope, Peter’s son, taking over. He continued to help the Group in other ways and was the Chairman until 2022. He now (2023) holds the honorary position of Group President.

H Masters

Silver Acorn – 1986

Frank Phillip

Silver Acorn – 2003 Silver Wolf – 2020

Frank joined the 15th Finchley Wolf Cubs when he was 10 along with his younger brother Nick, not having been able to join his nearest Groups (the 10th as he had no Scottish ancestry or the 23rd as he was not a Methodist). The next nearest “open” Scout Group was the 15th. It was not long though before he went up to Scouts where he was invested, on his 11th birthday in 1961, by Alan Fensome.

In 1965 he moved to Senior Scouts (Venture Scouts from 1967) under the leadership of Derek Warren and became a Queen’s Scout in 1968. After a 4 year break to attend university he returned to Finchley and started to help Derek with the Venture Scouts and, in 1975 took over from him.

In 1988 he took over the role of Scout Leader but after 5 years, and with Jim Corbett and then Robin Graby becoming leaders, he stepped down to being an assistant. He was awarded the Medal of Merit in 1992.

In 1995 he took over as GSL, a position he initially held for 20 years. However, his successor only managed a year before work commitments forced his resignation, and Frank was asked back for a further period. He finally relinquished the position when he was 70 but still (2023) helps the Group in an administrative capacity.

Frank also served as the Chairman of the Appointments Committee while Peter Trollope and Martin How were the District Commissioners. In April 2003 he was awarded the Silver Acorn.

In 2015 Frank received his 40 Years Service Award and since 2016 he has served on the Appointments Committee for Barnet Borough District. In May 2020 he was awarded the Silver Wolf.


Easter 1966 – I accompanied David Smith in Snowdonia when he did his hike for the Venturer badge, a prerequisite for the Queen’s Scout. At the end of the hike we met Wilf Hewitt at his little base near Llanberis. With two more days available I suggested we have a go at Snowdon. “Right” said Wilf and he took us to the beginning of Watkins Path so that we would go up that way and comeback down to Llanberis. We encountered every type of weather that day: sun, rain, hail, mist and snow, but when we got to the top and the sun came out and we could see where we had come: I nearly fainted at the sight of the sharp edge ridge we had walked along. The good news though was that Wilf said that because I had organised this little jaunt and had shown capability doing the first hike with David I should also pass my Venturer badge hike. I have since attempted Snowdon 4 times as a Scout and Leader: twice successfully and twice when I said ‘This ain’t clever, let’s turn back’.

Frank – A personal memory

Basil Pilgrim

Silver Acorn – 1980

Charlie Roberts

Silver Acorn – 1952 Silver Wolf – 1963

From the Group’s inception in 1919 until his death in 1986, Charlie was a stalwart member of the 15th Finchley. He along with a number of other choir boys was one of the first to become a Scout in the newly formed Troop. It was at his instigation that the Group purchased the land in Grove Road where their Headquarters ‘Utopia’ was built. Charlie devoted his life to the 15th. He became a leader and from 1932 to 1968 was their GSM.

During the Second World War Charlie had a ‘reserved occupation’ making optical components for the military, meaning he did not get ‘called up’. This allowed him to play a vital role in keeping the Group going during the hostilities, and living next door to ‘Utopia’ he was in a prime position to do so.

Charlie also played a key role in establishing many of the Groups international links. He attended Jamborees and made many friends abroad and was Deputy Leader of the GB contingent at the first Caribbean Jamboree in Jamaica. This resulted in the Scouts going to such places as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and of course Jamaica. He became well known to the Overseas Department of the Scout Association and was asked on several occasions to host Scouts from other countries. He was also selected to represent British Scouting at Jamaica’s independence celebration.

In 1940 Charlie was awarded the Medal of Merit, in 1952 the Silver Acorn and in 1963 the Silver Wolf. In addition, “in recognition of his faithful and devoted service in the encouragement and development of the Brotherhood of Scouting between the Scouts of Finchley and Jamaica”, he was in 1962 awarded the Silver Pineapple, the Silver Acorn equivalent in Jamaica.

Charlie was also a great believer in the social side of Scouting, evidenced by his support of so many activities: the shows, the Whist Drives, the fund-raising, annual Dinner Dances and his legendary garden parties.

His death in 1986 was not only a great loss to the 15th but to Scouting in general. In his final show of support for the Group he bequeathed them him house.


After the war, as I was getting older and our boys were return home, I remember Charlie starting Whist Drives on a Tuesday night. This was then followed by dances, with a little three-piece band, for friends and members of the 15th, plus tea and biscuits, all for a shilling!! We had bigger dances for special occasions for 2/6d (12½p in modern money). I met my wife Pat at one of these events and many others also met theirs. Charlie arranged all these functions – what a wonderful social organiser he was.

Stewart Fraser – 15th Finchley

Taken from the 15th Finchley ‘Our Story’

Malcolm Rush

Silver Acorn – 2008 Bar – 2021

Malcolm is currently (2023) the Scout Leader of the 6th Friern Barnet and has been since 2005, a few years after his previous Group, the 2nd Friern Barnet merged with the 6th.

In 1961 he joined the 186th North London Wolf Cubs who met in the large hall at the Whetstone Congregational Church and Mabel Gordon was his Akela. He was following the footsteps of some relatives: Jim Widgery and Roland & Margaret Finch, who had all been previous members of the Group.

At the age of 11 he joined the Troop, led by Dave Burgess, and enjoyed going to camp every summer. They included trips to Ireland and Guernsey and on two occasions won camping pennant for spending more than 20 nights under canvas during a year. He later became a Venture Scout but left the Group for a while to attend university.

During 1975 he returned to the Group and became an Assistant Scout Leader and a few years later the Scout Leader. Malcolm’s programme planning was excellent and by 1980 the number of Scouts had increased to more than 20. In 1979 one of his Patrol Leaders (Graham Hagger) was selected to represent the District at the World Jamboree in the USA.

Like a number of other Groups, numbers dropped and in 1990 Malcolm started running the Cub Pack as well. In 1997 he was awarded the Medal of Merit.

By 2002 it became obvious that the Group could no longer survive and it was decided to join forces with the 6th Friern Barnet, with whom they already had a close connection and had held a number of joint camps. He became the Scout Leader in 2005 and was awarded the Silver Acorn in 2008, having been a member of the Movement for more than 30 years. In 2021 he received the Bar for his continued good work.

In addition to his leadership role Malcolm is a frequent entrant in the Southern 50 Challenge hike and also provides regular help at Frith Grange.

Pixie Sterman

Silver Acorn – 2000

Peter Trollope

Silver Acorn – 1988

Richard Tuck

Silver Acorn – ? Silver Wolf – 1971

Barbara Warren

Silver Acorn – 1999

In 1950 Barbara (nee Bassant) was asked by Kathleen Ray, the Cub Scoutmaster of the 10th Finchley, if she would go along to Gordon Hall and help. As a number of her relatives were already involved with the Group she agreed, despite only being able to assist for an initial period of about 6 months. The minutes of the District Executive for September record her appointment as ‘Lady Cub Instructor’.

Towards the end of 1954 Barbara was back on a permanent basis and an ACM warrant was approved. In the interim period, during a Cub camp, she met Derek Warren (15th Finchley) and they eventually married on the 19th May 1956.

In September 1959 Barbara took over as the Cub Master and in 1966, after Finchley District became Finchley and Friern Barnet, she also took on the role of District Cub Scout Leader, assisting Audrey Marshall, the ADC Cubs, with her increased workload.

When Audrey moved on in 1973 to be the Assistant County Commissioner for Cubs Barbara became the new ADC, a position she went on to hold for 7 years. During this time she worked tirelessly to provide District events and activities on a regular basis that enabled boys to enjoy and appreciate Scouting on a broader level. She was awarded the Medal of Merit in 1977.

Barbara then went on to support the District Team with General Duties and Leader Training, eventually becoming the District Secretary in the 1990s. She retired from Scouting in 2004 having been awarded the Silver Acorn in 1999.

Away from Scouting, Barbara was a Friend of College Farm and every first Sunday helped to organise the Fair and Finchley Society Sales Table. As a member of the Finchley Society she also played a key role in raising funds for a statue of Spike Milligan, who lived in Finchley and was also active in the Society. Her aim was achieved and the statue is located in the grounds of Avenue House.

Barbara still lives in Finchley (2023) with Derek and when relaxing in the conservatory she looks out over Gordon Hall, where it all began.

Eric Whittlestone

Silver Acorn – 1960 Silver Wolf – 1967

Arthur Withey

Silver Acorn – 1978

Look up your local Scout Group, because you’ve got a safe, practical community who will encourage and support you.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls