Story behind bravery award to feature at Navy exhibition

Victoria Edwards with her award. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Victoria Edwards with her award. Picture: Allan Hutchings

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A Havant Scout has praised the decision to showcase the Cornwell Award as part of the new Battle of Jutland exhibition at The National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Part of the exhibition at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will be about the Cornwell Award – one of the highest awards given by the Scouts, on loan from The Scout Association.

The award is given only to those under 20 in respect of courage and endurance in extreme conditions.

It is named after John Travers Cornwell, commonly known as Jack, who is remembered for his gallantry at the Battle of Jutland.

Victoria Edwards, 16, is the current holder of the award for showing great courage after suffering from a stroke when she was 11.

Miss Edwards was given a 50 per cent chance of survival when she arrived at Southampton General Hospital and told that no matter what happened she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

She was given the award by chief scout Bear Grylls three years later by which point she had already gone back to scouting, sailing and horse riding.

She was applauded for continuing her active life even after being left partially sighted and with a weak left side – which made things difficult considering she was left-handed.

Miss Edwards is excited that members of the public will get the chance to see the badge at the new exhibition, which opens on May 12.

She said: ‘It’s incredible that the general public will have the opportunity to see the award and the story behind it.

‘Jack Cornwell was truly inspirational and the fact that his story is being told as part of this exhibition is great.’

Adam Jollans, lead volunteer at Hampshire Scouts, said: ‘Celebrating achievement has always been an important part of scouting.

‘Whether that’s in the form of our normal badges which reward both scouting skills and life skills or recognising the outstanding achievements of people like Victoria and Jack and celebrate their bravery.’