A Newtownabbey Scout leader has thanked his scout troop and his family on being awarded a BEM in recognition of his services to young people through the Scouting movement in Northern Ireland.
Geoffrey Hegarty, who was named in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, has been involved with 1st Cloughfern Scouts for over 50 years.
Geoffrey, who has been Scout leader at the Doagh Road based unit since 1971, has been commuting every Thursday from Newcastle, Co Down over the last 15 years to attend Scout meetings.
Speaking to the Times, he said: “It is a bit surreal to get an award. I didn’t get involved in Scouting for recognition like this.
“I just try to make sure the unit is running right and the facilities are there for the children who wish to attend.
“There are times when membership has been strong or it has been weak. I’ve had former Scouts return with their own children and they have come through the movement too.
“Leaders change too and there have been some great leaders at 1st Cloughfern since its foundation in 1953. This award is for everyone connected with 1st Cloughfern and I’d like to thank everyone for their well wishes since it was announced that I had been recognised.”
Geoffrey will be presented with the BEM at Hillsborough Castle in April. He has also been invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in May.