Gone home: Sir Garth Morrison KT CBE

Sir Garth Morrison KT CBE, Chief Scout of the United Kingdom 1988–1996 who died recently.
Sir Garth Morrison KT CBE, Chief Scout of the United Kingdom 1988–1996 who died recently.

“It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Sir W Garth Morrison, KT, CBE, RN, Vice-President of The Scout Association and former Chief Scout went home earlier today.“After a brief illness, bravely borne, Sir Garth passed away in his sleep at home with his family. Garth was a truly lovely person, fine gentleman and great ambassador for Scouting. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Lady Gill and the rest of his family at this sad time.” — Wayne Bulpitt, UK Chief Commissioner. 24 May 2013

Many adults in Scouting will remember Sir Garth from the time when he was Chief Scout. Some will remember his election as Chief Scout itself.

My fellow Scout Volunteer in Bedford, Peter Davies, has very fond memories of the late Sir William Garth Morrison from the time when he was a member of The Scout Association’s Headquarters Staff. Yesterday evening, Peter recounted:

“I remember being at the meeting of The Council of The Scout Association at which Garth was elected. David Easton (editor of Scouting Magazine) pointed out Lord Maclean and Willie Gladstone to me, saying ‘proper Chief Scouts’, then when Garth was brought in David leant across to me and said ‘and another proper Chief Scout’.

When I was a Scout in 3rd Ballymena, I remember Sir Garth coming to visit our Troop Night. My Patrol Leader had heard he was in the town on other business, had played the detective and found him in a local hotel. Bruce, my PL then invited him along to Scouts: and of course, he came. On arrival, we had an incident in the church car park. One Assistant Scout Leader was under the car, having been ‘knocked down’. Sir Garth arrived, was interested in what we were doing, and slowly the casualty rolled out from under the car (he was lying on a skateboard) to say, ‘I thought I recognised the voice!’ Like our current Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, Sir Garth Morrison was great at talking to the young people in the Movement for it is really a Youth Movement. I have never forgotten meeting him that day, I expect the others haven’t either.

Peter continued to tell me that,

“Sir Garth really did lay the trail to help Scouting move into the twenty-first century. He was instrumental in launching the Promise Appeal; he looked at making Scouting more relevant to both the youth of today and tomorrow; he looked at how Scouting could be a driving force in the lives of young people not only then but in the future; and in that respect David Easton was right. Yes. He was a proper Chief Scout. He wanted Scouting to be able to bring the adventure to as many young people as possible, just as Bear Grylls does today.”


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