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.