EARNING the Queen’s Scout Award takes a lot of time and sacrifice.
And for 25-year-old Matthew Pilcher, the honour is even more meaningful.
Matthew has Down’s Syndrome but he never lets that hold him back.
He has a part-time job at the Apollo cinema in Fareham, does volunteer work and helps out as the leader of a Cub pack in Gosport.
The 25-year-old has been working towards his Queen’s Scout Award for years and was finally presented with the honour at a ceremony on Thursday.
Matthew, of Brockhurst Road, Gosport, said: ‘I had a good time and there was a big crowd waiting to cheer for me.
‘I felt happy and proud of myself because I have been doing it for a long time.
‘I like Scouting because it means I can help other people.
‘Now I hope other people will see that I have done it and will take up the challenge as well.
‘I really enjoy it and I also work with a Cub pack to teach them their badge work.’
The Queen’s Scout Award is the highest award you can get in the Scouting world.
You have to complete a number of nights away camping, learn a new skill, provide a service to the community and take up a physical activity.
Matthew challenged himself to see how many lengths he could do at Fareham’s swimming pool and now he can swim 50 lengths in an hour.
He has hiked around the Isle of Wight and is even learning how to tap-dance for his part in the Gosport Gang Show.
Matthew’s mum, 54-year-old Heather Pilcher, said: ‘After 18 years of scouting, it means a lot to him.
‘We’re just so pleased for him, whatever he gets into he always tries his best.
‘He is talkative and funny and helpful and just everything a Scout should be.
‘I think it’s nice that people can see how people with learning disabilities can achieve these things and there’s no reason why they can’t.
‘Matthew doesn’t see himself as different to anyone else.
‘And the Scouting movement has been wonderful in that they support him but they don’t smother him.
‘There’s someone on hand to help if he needs it but if he doesn’t, they back off.’
Matthew has been involved in Scouting since he was seven years old.
He was presented with the Queen’s Scout Award at Bridgemary School in front of the cast of the Gosport Gang Show, which he has been a part of for years.