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WATCH: The Duchess of Cambridge visit the 12th Northolt Scout Group in London
The Duchess of Cambridge has become the first woman to be named president of the Scouts as she takes on a joint role at the organisation.
Kate, 38, has been named joint president of The Scout Association, alongside the Duke of Kent, who is the Queen’s cousin.
Not only is Kate the first woman to have held the role, it’s also her first presidency.
Kate said: “For many children and young people, The Scout Association plays a key role as they build relationships and develop the skills they need to succeed in later life.
“When I volunteered with the Scouts on Anglesey eight years ago, I was struck by the huge impact the organisation has on inspiring young people to support their communities and achieve their goals.
“I am delighted to be joining The Duke of Kent as joint president of the association and look forward to working with Scouts across the country as they strive to make a positive difference to our society.”
To mark the announcement, Kate visited the 12th Northolt Scout Group in West London, to hear how the group has adapted during the pandemic, including their #TheGreatIndoors campaign.
She toasted marshmallows with the cubs and scouts, and helped make cards to send to a local care home.
Sat on logs around a fire, she told the children: “Make sure it doesn’t get gooey and fall off.”
She asked them: “Are you having fun? How many marshmallows have you eaten?”
When they replied ‘One’, she remarked: “Oh my goodness, that’s so controlled of you. Is that because there’s only one in your bag?”
She was taught how to make a whirlybird paper toy by one youngster, and after dropping it down said: “I don’t think I’ll get full marks.”
The Duchess of Cambridge was also presented with the Silver Wolf Award, the highest award made by The Scout Association.
She previously volunteered with the Scouts when she and her husband Prince William lived on Anglesey.
Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, has been president of The Scout Association since 1975, and the Queen is patron.
Prince Edward said: “As the Scout Association’s president since 1975, it has been my privilege to watch as they evolve with the times, while honouring their proud history.
“The Scouts’ ethos of dedication, inclusivity, and lending a helping hand wherever one is needed resonates across the generations, and as such I am delighted to welcome the Duchess of Cambridge as joint president, and to work together to continue that legacy.”
Scouting was historically a club for boys, but girls have been able to join for 40 years. All sections became co-educational in the UK in 2007.
Speaking to Yahoo UK after showing the duchess around the club in London, Rachel Drew, volunteer leader, said: “It was really lovely, she was a really nice person, she was asking lots of questions about how we have been making scouting available. COVID has had an impact on scouting, there are extra resources we need.
“She used to be a Beaver leader herself so she got it and was really interesting.
“She had a go at making a whirlybird, as a little physics experiment. One of the Beaver members decided to take the lead and showed her how to drop it which was amazing.”
Drew said the duchess’s appointment would help those who don’t yet know scouting can be for boys and girls to realise it’s now co-educational.
Mona Mohamed, 28, whose brother is a Scout at the club, admitted she was in shock after meeting the duchess.
Mona said: “She was brilliant, genuinely just incredibly nice, so engaged. My brother has autism, and this group has changed his life.
“The leaders have been fantastic with him and make sure that he is able to access everything.
“I gave her a little speech but then she was asking me questions, about how the club was different from school, it really surprised me.
“I thought she would just nod her head and move on but she wanted to know about the group as a whole.”
She added that the duchess was “down to earth” and admitted Kate had won her over.
She said: “My mum is already jealous, she has been blowing up my phone.”
This will be another shared interest for the duchess and the Duke of Kent. They also share duties at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, too, where the Wimbledon tennis tournament is held each summer.
Kate is the club’s patron and Prince Edward is president, and both have held the job of presenting the men’s champion with the trophy at the end of the fortnight.