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King George

1st Cheam Scout Group has been offering Scouting to members of the village for more than 80 years. It all began on Saturday 17th October 1928, a date when Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street and our Queen’s grandfather, King George V was on the throne. It was the time, when the eager, noisy voices of village boys, were first heard as they formed the new 1st Cheam Scouts . There had been an attempt to form a Scout Troop in Cheam around 1919 but it failed to survive longer it is thought than early 1925.

Listed below are the Leading Scouters who have driven the group forward in those years.

The First Group Scout Master

In those long ago days of 1928, leading, guiding – showing the way - was the 1st Cheam’s founder and first Group Scout Master, the first Scout in Cheam to wear on his broad rimmed hat the green and white plume of the rank. His name was Mr. W.C. King, soon to be addressed by his followers as Chief. It is no exaggeration to say that Mr. King’s most notable and worthy contribution to the community in the formative years of the new Group was to involve the help and enthusiasm of a Mr. Eric Alcorn and invited him within a week or so of the Scout Troop becoming up and running to form the 1st Cheam Cub Pack. Mr. Bill King, Group Scout Master from 1928 to November 1950 served twenty two years “at the helm.” The Chief fell under the new spell of Scouting at an age when many men were beginning to look towards their arm chairs and a life of less physical activity.

William King
The old institute
Writing in 1949, Bill King recalled an appeal made by Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement in 1907, asking for men to offer themselves to train as Scouters. “I felt this call was meant for me,” he later wrote. Being given the use of the St. Dunstan’s Institute, formerly the Cheam Working Men’s club, as a Headquarters for the scouts, Chief repaired the rotting floor, had new electricity installed giving the building light and heat and made the building ship-shape for Scout and Cub meetings. With a few additions, a couple of extensions plus a coat of paint or two the old Institute is still today the home of the 1st Cheam Scouts and is a prominent landmark at the top of the Malden Road, seen opposite the Prince of Wales public house.

Bill King was a man of rugged character and in his pursuit of efficiency in the Group he was uncompromising and at times almost ruthless but he became devoted to his boys and they to him. During the six years of the Second World War the young Scouters the Chief had gathered around him were called up for active service. Undaunted he ran the Group single handed aided by his sister, Mrs. Cadot, whom he persuaded to take over the running of the Cub Pack

The Chief’s health began to fade in the autumn of 1950 and in October that years he stood down as GSM. He had been the Group’s leader for twenty-two years. On 3rd November in 1950 Bill King, “The Chief” died.
Gone Home

A tribute written by the then County Commissioner, Mr. Ted Neate in the “Surrey S Sheet” included the following words:“He did yeoman service with the British Contingent to a Jamboree in Australia before the war. His services to scouting were recognised both by personal letters of Commendation and by the award of the Medal of Merit by the Chief Scout. Bill King gave long and whole hearted service to his boys and will long be remembered with affection and gratitude by several scout generations. Such men are of the salt of the earth.”

 

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