It was the end of an era at the presentation of annual awards at the Togher Scout Centre on Wednesday evening last when two council members with exceptional service were guests of honour.
The new chairman Michael Pattwell for the 37th Cork Group paid tribute to John Dennehy and Frank Mullane for the service they had given over many decades.
John Dennehy was chairman of the Community Council in Togher in 1973 when it was announced that the 37th Cork Scout Troop and Macaoimh Cath (Cub Scouts) were to move from the middle parish of Ss. Peter & Paul’s to Togher.
It was another two years before it physically happened at which time John was then a member of the group council. A great supporter, staunch fundraiser and a great advisor on available grants. John has now retired after 42 years service.
John and his wife Phil have always been very proud that their five sons, John, Peter RIP, Brian, Fergal and Kevin had all been members of the 37th Cork with John (Jr) starting in Ss. Peter & Paul’s.
John was elected chairman of the Togher group in 1995 and has guided and steered the direction of the group over a lifetime.
Scouting owes John a deep debt of gratitude as does the parish of Togher and politically the South West Ward which he represented for so many years. Perhaps one of his proudest moments in scouting was to lead the cheering of parents and supporters at Cork Airport in 1974 when the 37th Cork brought home the ‘Melvin’ All- Ireland Scoutcraft trophy for the first time.
This was to be repeated in 1975, 76 and ’77, a record that has never been surpassed.
Frank Mullane joined the Scouting trail as a young scout with the 5th Cork Troop (The Lough) around 1970, progressing through the ranks before being appointed Scout Leader. Married to Kathleen and with three children he decided to take some time out before coming back into active service in a leadership capacity with the 37th Cork (Togher) in 1998.
Both of his sons Eoin and Colm were involved and Frank was assured it would only take the famous one hour a week. His proudest achievement was perhaps leading the troop in the Millenium Camp along with 34th Cork (SSPP), 46th /92nd Cork (Glanmire) and 109th Cork (Ballinora) and the 9th Cork (Bandon).
The camp to the USA in 2000 was to Camp John H.Ware 3rd in Pennsylvania. A total 196 attended that camp.
After Frank retired from an active uniform position he took on the mantle of treasurer for the group which is no easy task with the amount of finance coming through each year. It is all becoming more onerous now with all scout groups having to register individually under the charities act so it is perhaps time for a change and for Frank to take a much-earned rest.
The evening which was well attended by parents was essentially about the youth members of all sections and their was great applause when various annual awards were announced.
First off were the Beaver Scouts with Leader Brendan Murphy announcing that Donagh Murphy was Beaver of the Year. Next, there was a going up ceremony for three of the Beaver Scouts going to the Cub Scouts.
They were James O’Sullivan-Crowley, Donagh Murphy and Charlie Kent who walked along a low pioneering bridge built by the scout troop and were greeted by the Cub Scout Leaders at the far side.
Next, it was the turn of the Cub Scouts with Pat Spillane making the announcements. Best attendance went to Sam Hodgins and Leah Durkin. Best uniform for the year was Alex O’Connell, Best Cub Scout at camp was Fionn Sheehan and the award young cub scout of the year going to Cillin Prender.
Then came the announcement for the overall Cub Scout of the Year for the Jason Desmond Memorial Cup and this was presented to John Egan.
Last but not least came the Scout Troop Awards. Scout Leader Hugh Bailey announced the winners as follows, best uniform Alan Hodgins, best attendance Ryan Durkin and the best scout at camp in the Isle of Man was James Kelleher. Scoutmaster Pat Bradley had the honour of announcing that the Scout of the Year for the Vincent Skally Memorial Trophy as Ethan Bailey.
The guests of honour took centre stage at the beginning and end of the ceremony recounting with nostalgia many happenings over the years.
Group Leader Pat Spillane, in particular, thanked the leaders of all sections for their dedication, time and commitment. A short parents meeting followed with an appeal going out for more to come forward as leaders in particular for the Scout section who are very anxious to go co-educational.
The youth members had the greatest of cheers as they ended the evening with a campfire run by Máire Fitzgerald from Ballinora assisted by John Lyons, leader with the Cub Scouts while the parents were updated at their own meeting.