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Peter Pink

One of Teynham’s most popular and respected residents, Peter Pink, died at the age of 86 on 25th April 2018. Scouting was his life, and so many Teynham youngsters owe it to Peter for giving them the opportunity to join the Scouts. His great friend, Mary Gollop, gave a moving eulogy to Peter Pink at his funeral at Bobbing Crematorium, and pays a special tribute to him here.

sxout leader

Peter Pink with his Silver Acorn for service to Scouting.

One of Teynham’s most popular and respected residents, Peter Pink, died at the age of 86 on April 25th. Scouting was his life, and so many Teynham youngsters owe it to Peter for giving them the opportunity to join the Scouts. His great friend, Mary Gollop, gave a moving eulogy to Peter Pink at his funeral at Bobbing Crematorium, and pays a special tribute to him here.

Peter Pink would help anyone in need. Scouting was his life and family but he became a true friend to me and I'm just glad I was able to pay him back in kind in his last years.

Peter's Scouting service began in November 1969. This is a grey area for me but I think he took the name Baloo as an assistant Cub Scout leader, and became Akela in 1974. I think he also became an Assistant District Commissioner for Cubs. 

It was the same for me as many people in that my first encounter with Peter was when my son joined the Cubs. Rob loved it but in February 1984 he came home saying Akela had told them he will have to pack up the Monday Cubs if he doesn't get more help.

I couldn't have that - I had another son waiting in the wings! - so I volunteered. And the rest is history. Like Peter, I committed 100 per cent and with his help and support I gained my wood beads in 1987.

When I first began we had two pack holidays a year in Kingsdown, near Deal. Monday ladies would go and cook for the Tuesday pack and visa versa when it was Monday's turn to go. 

We had a rusty old van with two benches either side. Peter would seat about 12 boys in it, with their luggage piled up high in the middle. We wouldn't get away with it today but the boys loved it. 

We were on the go from the moment we got up at these pack holidays to the time we went to bed. 
Saturday night we'd start the evening with camp fire songs. 'Everywhere We Go' was a particular favourite and the louder it got the more Peter would get carried away, his arms flailing about. I'd be in tears of laughter.

At these camps Saturday night was always shower night and the older boys would wet their hair and come into the dining room with Mohican hair styles for their hot chocolate and story time. They’d forget when they went to sleep to comb their hair so you can imagine how they looked the next day!
It was after going on them that I knew why my Rob sat like a zombie after one of these weekends.

We would also join District Scouts at Torry Hill for a weekend camp under canvas and these were always great fun. This camp by the way was instigated by Peter when he was ADC.

We would also go to other camps, on any outings that were up for offer, go on days out in the woods, and to swimming galas. The list goes on and I'm exhausted just typing the activities he got me helping on.

These all happened in a year and I was a leader with just one pack. Peter was Akela to both Monday and Tuesday packs, but I must add that he always managed to have three ladies per pack helping him. 

So long as we fed him, and he did love his food, he'd always get stuck in and do any dirty work that was needed.

Most parents only see the two hours a week pack night, but it was so much more. Planning the evening, gathering all that was needed - mostly done by Peter - oh and camps, there was the food shopping, getting all the equipment out of store and up to site and then erecting the tents.

Plus he had a full time job. I could go on but you get the picture. 

I was always amazed at his memory. At the end of a pack night boys would ask if they could go swimming on Sunday. He never said no, but he never wrote names down. I bet he drove round Teynham picking up anyone with a towel under their arm! But I also know he taught many a boy to swim.

Football was another thing he ran, and again he didn't write names down. The only time I ever knew him to go into hospital was on a match day, so instead of phoning 11 Cubs to let them know it was cancelled I had to phone 48. Thankfully the records were up to date.

In my early days on St George’s Day Parade, we used to march up Sittingbourne High Street. The service was held in two churches as there were so many Cubs and Scouts. On one occasion Peter bought himself a new shirt and got me to sew the badges on. Whilst waiting for the parade to march off I heard someone ask him why his District badge was upside down. Oh dear! I think it's the only time I let him down.

In February 1986 he received the Medal of Merit for services to Scouting and 10 years later his Accolade in Scouting. District had organised a trip to Brownsea Island and it was there that he was awarded the Silver Acorn for service to Scouting. A proud moment for him.

Later in 1996 Peter had to retire from the position of Akela, having reached the grand old age of 65. This is when I took over as Akela, and they were big shoes to fill.

But his commitment didn’t stop and he took over the role of Group Scout Leader as well as starting helping at Teynham School.

We had become friends over the years so I asked him: “Is it because you're on your own that you don't go on holiday?” I knew what the answer was going to be, and we went to Switzerland together, going across the Alps by train. Peter had a great time and we made some really good friends who we later visited in Ireland for another great holiday.

Some time in late 2007 or early 2008 he came rushing down to my house, so excited for Peter. He had just received a letter from the Lord Chamberlain inviting him and a guest to the next garden party at Buckingham Palace on July 15, 2008. “Would I go with him?” Would I? Well, I certainly would … and it was a lovely experience. Thanks, Pete.

All was fine until sadly his health deteriorated. It became apparent to all who were close to him, especially when he parked his car and forgot where. Amanda and Paul drove round Sittingbourne early the next day and found it for him.

In 2009 he reached 40 years in Scouting and it was my job to persuade him to retire as Group Scout Leader. The group were very fond of Peter and made him honorary chairman, keeping him involved whilst having no responsibilities.

I don't want to dwell on these later years, but I just want to thank Doreen and Barbara for visiting with me every week without fail for the three years while he was in the care home in Milton. We all become expert domino players.

So, Peter, you were always a gentleman, a leader and a very dear friend. Thank you from so many, may you now find peace and rest, if you can, in a better place. God bless you.