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Did you know that many of the UK’s finest used to be Scouts?

Scouts clearly was –and still is – the place to nurture rising stars who would go on to make positive contributions in spheres as diverse as music, entertainment, sports and politics.

Have a look at this list of former Scouts and, erm, be prepared for some surprises!

David Beckham

Before he was bending it like.. well, himself, David Beckham was a Boy Scout.

But he’s not the first Scout in his family. His grandfather was one of the first Sea Scouts, and his great grandfather Edward Beckham was part of a Scout group that encountered a sudden squall on the Thames during a summer camp. Edward Beckham, one of his brothers and several other boys were saved thanks to the quick thinking of their Scoutmaster Sydney Marsh and the Kent coastguard. Unfortunately, Edward’s other brother, William, and seven other boys could not be saved.[1]

Half the Beatles

Namely, song-writing dynamic duo John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

John was a member of the 3rd Allerton Boy Scout troop.

When John met Paul, he was impressed and asked him to join the Quarrymen. Paul agreed, though he did not join straight away because he and his younger brother were due to attend a Boy Scout Jamboree in the following weeks. It was at this Jamboree that Paul made his public singing debut alongside his brother.

Given the Fab Four’s history with the Scouts, we can’t help but wonder whether some of the Beatles’ songs were inspired by their Scouting experiences. Just look at the following titles:

  • Carry that weight
  • Come together
  • Dig it
  • If you’ve got trouble
  • Mother Nature’s son
  • With a little help from my friends

David Bowie

Proving once again that the Scouts is a great place to hone your musical talents, did you know that David Bowie’s first public musical performance was at a Scout camp in 1958? His instrument of choice – the ukulele.

Dave Gilmour – Pink Floyd

Vocalist and guitarist of influential prog rock band Pink Floyd, Dave Gilmour, claims that his Scouting experience was a bright spot in an otherwise troubled childhood.

Billy Connolly

In his book, Billy Connolly’s Tracks Across America, the world-famous comedian credits his experience in the Cub Scouts as the inspiration for mobilising youth in his local area to help keep the canals and lochs clean.

Tony Blair

Former PM Tony Blair was a Boy Scout who continues to believe strongly in the movement. At a recent Scouts event, he stated that the Scouts “helps make rounded young people who can work with others and provides good opportunities.” He believes that Scouting is particularly relevant in the 21st century, a time when young people don’t always enjoy the best reputation. [2]

Richard Branson

This famous entrepreneur was once quoted as saying that “Scouting got me away from the desk, got me doing useful, fun & exciting things…. thinking back it taught me more things than school ever did”.

Though apparently he never did learn to tie a knot![3]

Scout sign (FILEminimizer) | Central Gosforth Scouts Group