The Founder - Alec J Spalding MBE

Alec J Spalding MBE, Scout Leader
Born 9th August 1923, Died 2nd October 2007

For over 50 years Alec was a Scout Leader and the Leader in Charge of the 24th Glasgow (Bearsden) Scout Group. During these many years Alec influenced the lives of hundreds of boys who all will have special memories of their time in the Scouts and of Alec in particular - perhaps Friday night troop meetings, camps, oversees trips, camp fires with Alec doing his special “party piece” Three Blind Mice, mammoth jumble sales, working on the erection and/or maintenance of group headquarters and so on. Alec was the guiding light throughout all our Scouting activities and provided tremendous encouragement and leadership. He introduced us to many activities on the basis that Scouting would provide the “taster” and after that it was up to you.

As a boy he attended Glasgow Academy and, of course, was an active Boy Scout in the 24th gaining his King Scout Badge in 1939. After leaving school Alec studied Agriculture at Glasgow University but after a year or so he volunteered to join the Royal Navy and during the latter part of World War II he served in both the North Atlantic and the Pacific as a radar operator before being demobbed in 1946 when he and others returned

to Bearsden and took up positions as Leaders in the 24th. Alec completed his BSc after the War and graduated in 1948. After graduation Alec was employed as an agricultural economist at the West of Scotland Agricultural College for six years and then, until he took early retirement in 1981, he worked with Scottish Agricultural Industries.

However Alec’s life was devoted to Scouting. He attended the World Jamboree in France in 1947 and during the period of home hospitality afterwards he discovered Kandersteg in Switzerland. He immediately recognised its potential and the first trip by the 24th to the International Scout Chalet in Kandersteg took place in 1949 with a party of 36 Scouts and Leaders at a cost of £18 10s per head. Since then the 24th have been to Kandersteg many times and it is perhaps Kandersteg more than anything which we remember about Alec and of our time in the Scouts.

However, not content with Kandersteg trips every two years, in the early 1980s, Alec introduced other overseas excursions, to North America, to Iceland and to Scandinavia. The emphasis was always on active outdoor activities very much in line with Baden-Powell’s own principles and beliefs.

Alec’s commitment to Scouting, not only at Group level, but also at Area and Scottish level was recognized by his being awarded the Silver Wolf which is the unrestricted gift of the Chief Scout for services of the most exceptional nature. In addition Alec was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1996 for services to Scouting.