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Scout leader's This Is Your Life

A Scout leader who has given nearly 50 years of his life to Scouting received a surprise 'This Is Your Life' ceremony to celebrate his 80th birthday.

George Webster, of Flash Lane, Mirfield, got the shock of his life when scouts from 8th Mirfield Scout group presented him with a special red book on what was supposed to be just a normal Thursday night.

He said: "It was a really marvellous surprise."

Sam Rotchell, a member of 8th Mirfield, played host to the evening proceedings.

Castle Hall pupil Sam said: "I put on a suit and pretended to be Michael Aspel. We had the music and everything."

As well as the Scouts, George's family and friends were there. Some of then were asked to say a little bit about George and share the experiences they have had about him.

Elaine Hudson, of Crowlees Gardens, Mirfield, remembers the time George went on camp to the Lake District and forgot to take his underpants.

She said: "We looked all over Keswick for some underpants that would fit him, but we couldn't find any the right size."

Malcolm Smaling, of SunnyBank Avenue, praised George for his work with people in the community.

He said: "I work at a home for disabled people and George came many times and helped build an extension."

Father of two George was born on December 26 1923 in Stocksbank Road, Battyeford. He was one of eight children.

His first encounter with Scouting came in 1931 when he joined his local scout troop as a cub.

His cub group closed due to a lack of leaders and George was not involved with scouting for a further 26 years.

During this time, in 1946, he married his wife Molly and they had two children, Janet and Brian.

Brian joined cubs at the Baptist Chapel and George became a member of the Parent Cubs Committee.

It was here he met George Lancaster who was running a local venture Scout group at the time.

Mr Lancaster instantly saw George's potential as a leader and George joined the venture group in 1957.

This was also the same year George built his first canoe by hand with the ventures.

This would pave the way for George's passion for canoeing to progress over the years.

George annually attended the Gilwell Park scouting re-union, a festival for Scouts from all over the world to meet and strengthen the interest of international youth in Scouting.

At the meetings, he enjoyed weekends of exhibitions, camping, canoeing and as he put it, "a good old - fashioned sing song."

During his many years in Scouting, he has enjoyed many activities. These include parascending, hand-gliding, pot-holing, caving, horse riding, and long distance walks.

Of all the activities George has taken part in, canoeing has always been his favourite and he set up and ran a West Yorkshire canoeing club, where he passed on many of his skills to young people.

Every Thursday night, George never fails to open his tuckshop for the Scouts of 8th Mirfield.

Steve Pope, leader of 8th Mirfield, said: "George is an amazing man who has given his life to the help of others."

He added: "We would all like to thank him for his years of hardwork and dedication to scouting."