A SCOUT leader who joined the movement as a young child is celebrating half a century as a leader.

Dave Stump, was just eight years old when he made his first Grand Howl as a member of 12th Swindon Cubs.

Now, 64 years later, he is a leader at the same scout group and has just been recognised with the Chief Scout’s 50-year Long Service Decoration.

“I had so much fun as a Scout that I decided to put something back into it,” said the 72-year old, who still goes camping with the youngsters.

When he reached 18 and had to leave, he became a leader with the Ist Wroughton. “I was there for about three years but I was only on a push bike and it was a long way to go at night.”

Dave moved to the 6th Swindon (St Saviours) as an assistant for two years before becoming leader – a role he played for 15 years.

But with a young family, plus his day job as a design engineer, he found it difficult to fit everything in and took the difficult decision to give up.

It wasn’t until he went to sign up his son Jon for the 12th Swindon a few years later that he rejoined. Jon went on to earn his Chief Scout’s Award before flying the nest.

“I get a lot of pleasure from the kids enjoying themselves and doing things they wouldn’t normally be able to do,” Dave told the Adver.

“The leaders that we had with the 12th when I first joined, most of them are still there. It is really a group of blokes and a girl going out and having fun and letting the kids tag along.”

And he has no plans to give up just yet. “I will carry on as long as I can say: ‘Come on, let’s do this!’ rather than ‘Go on, do that.’”

As well as activities like camping, shooting and archery, because the Old Town troop is an air scout unit, members also have the chance to go flying with RAF instructors at Brize Norton, where one of their leaders is based.

“You see them get out of the plane and the grin is from ear to ear,” said Dave.

Scouting is now much more high tech than it was when he first started and health and safety risk assessments have to be completed before many activities.

But some things don’t change, at least not for his troop. While other groups have opted for modern small tents, they still use old-style patrol tents.

“Ten and 11-year-olds and zips don’t always mix,” he explained.