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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

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News | 16 September 2022

Scouts volunteer at HM The Queen’s Lying in State


120 Scouts aged 18-25 are giving their time to support the thousands of people paying their respects to HM The Queen in London.

To watch in full screen, double click the video


Over the 70 years of her reign, Scouts have promised to do their duty to The Queen and to help others. We’re honoured to be living our Promise at The Queen’s Lying in State and supporting our nation at this significant moment.

From helping visitors with accessibility needs, to supporting those waiting many hours in the long queue, our volunteers are working together to support visitors paying their respects – and we couldn’t be prouder.

Matt Hyde talks to a large group of Scouts, all wearing uniform.
Scouts CEO, Matt Hyde OBE, chatting to the young volunteers during their briefing at Gilwell Park

Getting ready to do their duty

It’s been a whirlwind couple of days for the young volunteers. Arriving at Gilwell Park on Tuesday afternoon, they were briefed and shown their accommodation. They spent the rest of the afternoon getting to know each other, sharing a meal before turning in for an early night before the long day ahead.

The first team headed into central London for the first shift at 5am on Wednesday morning.

After their final briefing, the first team were ready to start their shift. They split up between three sites – the Tate Britain Art Gallery to help visitors with accessibility needs, Archbishop’s Park to help with flowers and visitors’ bag drops, and Victoria Tower Gardens to help with the growing queue of mourners.

More teams arrived to help with the afternoon and evening shifts.

As well as the sense of pride in doing their duty, the Lying in State assistance offered by the young people could count towards their King's Scout or Chief Scout's Diamond Awards.

Two Scouts in hi-vis jackets smile at the camera while standing in front of Westminster Abbey.
Two Scouts in hi-vis jackets helping the queues into Westminster Abbey

Supporting the young people

The volunteers supporting the young people also deserve a huge thank you. The valet team stayed up until the early hours of the morning, cleaning and preparing the uniforms for the young people, including a marathon badge-sewing session into the early hours. The Sea Cadets kindly let us use their HQ as our central London base.

Each young person truly looks the part. Every uniform worn has the official Scout Memorial Badge for The Queen and a black necker.

Leading the first visitors

One young person, Enver, led the very first visitors to Westminster Hall. Many of these visitors had been patiently queuing overnight, waiting for the moment they could pay their respects to The Queen.

Enver says, ‘I had the opportunity to lead the first couple of people into the queue and it was a great honour to be able to volunteer.

‘They'd been waiting ages. They were unbelievably kind, as if they hadn't even spent two and a half days there. Even when they went in and had security checks, they were so patient. It was amazing to be able to guide them through.’

Wearing Scouts uniform, Enver leads a queue of people down the stairs into Westminster Abbey
Enver leading the front of the queue into Westminster Hall

Kayleigh’s story

One young person, Kayleigh, had been up bright and early Wednesday morning to help with the Lying in State. She said:

The highlight of my day came early this morning. A lovely lady on the Letham Bridge stopped me to ask if we were helping with the Lying in State. When I said yes, she teared up, held a hand to her chest, and told me it was really moving.

She proceeded to genuinely thank me as she continued through the city hustle and bustle. In that moment, the sense of pride I felt was overwhelming.

I knew I was blessed to be coming here, but today, the reality of the honour set in.’

Her Majesty has provided a steadfast sense of peace and remarkable pride and it really is the highest of honours to be able to do my duty to her now

Kayleigh, Scouts volunteer

Two Scouts volunteers in hi-vis jackets are laying out flowers and cards in a row on the ground
Two Scouts volunteers are helping lay out flowers left by the public for The Queen

Public response

The public response to our work at the Lying in State has been glowing. We received this fantastic feedback at the end of the first day from a member of the public:

‘I just wanted to say how thoroughly impressed I was last night with the Scouts, who were facilitating the queue for The Queens’s Lying in State.

‘While waiting in the gardens area of the Palace of Westminster (possibly the hardest part of the queuing system), the Scouts were engaging and respectful and all of them had a kind word or gesture to everyone there.

‘All of them tried to engage with the crowd to help us pass the time and were a real credit to the Scouts. I thought they were amazing and I just wanted to pass on my appreciation.’

A big thank you to everyone helping with the Lying in State, especially our young people. We’re full of pride to be involved in this special occasion and to do our final duty to HM The Queen.

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