A SCOUT leader who saved a man’s life during a packed St George’s Day parade has been honoured with a prestigious scouting award.
More than 300 young scouts had lined the street for last year’s Honley evening parade but just seconds after Holme Valley Scouts Commissioner Kevin Johns dismissed the group, he collapsed and was fighting for his life after suffering a heart attack.
Fortunately for Kevin, fellow scout leader and St John Ambulance trainer Alan Whiteley was on hand to give him vital first aid while the alarm was raised with the emergency services.
Alan, 42, said: “Kevin collapsed and I realised quite quickly he hadn’t just fainted. I gave him CPR for what must have been around eight minutes and when the paramedics arrived we worked together.
“They carry a defibrillator and this allowed them to get his heart going and he was taken to hospital.
“I was so relieved when he came round. Being a first aid trainer I have assisted several times but when it is someone you know, like in this instance, it is your worst nightmare.”
Kevin, went on to make a full recovery and is still very much involved in scouting.
Alan’s efforts have now been recognised with the award for Meritorious Conduct – the second highest award in scouting – and he attended a St George’s Day parade last month in recognition of his achievements.
But in a remarkable turn of events, Alan was not the only Holmfirth Scout Leader to be honoured at this year’s Windsor celebrations. Alan’s former Cub Leader, Jacqueline Whiteley (not related) was also presented with an award for long service and the pair were able to travel to Windsor together.
Jacqueline, 75, said: “I started out in scouting in the 70s as my two young boys were in scouts and the group were desperate for volunteers.
“Alan came to my unit when he was eight years old and we went on many trips together.
“It is so lovely that we can share collecting our awards together.”
Over the years Jacqueline has taken on many roles in the scouting movement, including ten years as Akela for 1st Holmfirth Scouts and 13 years in the position of Assistant Group Scout Leader.
She added: “The kids are the reason I do it. Seeing the enjoyment they get from completing badges and their own pride in what they have achieved is fantastic and at times can be quite overwhelming.
“When I first started out there were no Beavers and Scouts didn’t allow girls. It has changed over the years but it is growing in popularity again which is lovely to see.”
Jacqueline, retired from the position of Assistant District Commissioner when she was 65 after a 10 year stint and continues to be involved as the District Badge Secretary.
She added: “The number of badges is fantastic and sometimes I am invited to meetings to help present them.
“I am honoured to have been given this award and to be able to share it with Alan makes it all the more special”.