Pub landlord Al Murray declares Stewkley's new scout hut open for business

1st Stewkley Scout Group's new hut was declared open for business yesterday (Sunday) by comedian Al Murray, who was born in the village.

Members of the various Stewkley scouting units with scout leaders and comedian Al Murray aka the pub landlord
Members of the various Stewkley scouting units with scout leaders and comedian Al Murray aka the pub landlord

The construction of the hut, which is located on the village's Recreation Ground, has been a lengthy project that has been affected by rising costs and planning difficulties but it is now open and able to continue the legacy of scouting in Stewkley which dates back more than sixty years.

Executive scout leader and chairman Steve Wass said: "We started on this journey four years ago and over the time the cost has increased.

"To date we have spent £125,000 but that doesn't factor in the time and cost that individuals have spent equipping the building.

Residents enjoy looking around the new scout hut

"The fact that Al agreed to come and open the building is great for us.

"We have about 67 children on the books at the moment, but years ago we had about 120 across all the units.

"We used to have about 35 scouts, but now that number is just in double figures.

"Now we have this new facility, combined with the new housing in the village, we hope we can keep the numbers consistent and increase them so we can move forward.

The wall of plaques inside the entrance hall of the new hut - as part of fundraising villagers and village groups were invited to sponsor a plaque

"We now have a full complement of leaders so we can have the right ratio of children to leaders which will hopefully allow us to expand and bring more things to young people.

"Now that we have our own permanent building I don't see any reason why scouting in Stewkley cannot continue to thrive for the next 60 years and beyond."

Al, whose parents still live in the village, came to cut the ribbon to declare the hut officially open.

He quipped that he had been chosen to do the honours because 'Alastair Cook was at the cricket!' adding: "It was lovely to be asked especially as a show I did here in the village many years ago helped contribute some funds towards it.

Inside the new Stewkley scout hut

"It has been quite a project with many twists along the road but I feel it is a great addition to the Recreation Ground.

"I was never actually a Stewkley scout - I can't remember what happened - I think we were out of the country when I was in the age bracket so that may be why!"