HUNDREDS of Scouts from across Hampshire, including a group of Cub Scouts and their leaders from Medstead, celebrated their activity centre’s 40th anniversary with an action-packed weekend of fun, challenge and life-changing adventure.

Located in the New Forest, Ferny Crofts has seen tens of thousands of young people pass through its gates over the past 40 years. Now, as Hampshire Scouts’ adventure headquarters, their outdoor pursuits range from archery, climbing, go karts, and even a zip wire.

The young people, aged six to 25, were joined by Alastair Bruce, the High Sherriff of Hampshire, The Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, and Lord Mountbatten’s Grandson. Together, they officially opened the newly-refurbished Mountbatten Lodge, which can accommodate 32 Scouts at any one time.

Hampshire is the largest Scout county in the UK, with more than 25,000 young people and adult volunteers taking part every week. And 2,800 boys and girls are waiting to join across Hampshire due to a shortfall in leaders.

Alastair Bruce, of Sky News, said: “Scouting helps its members to be resilient and challenges them with new opportunities. A lot of young people don’t get the chance to work with others and to depend on them. That’s what’s Scouting’s all about; teamwork. Talking to every adult volunteer I meet, it is this sense of reward that they’re not just on earth, they’re making the earth too.”

Hon Mrs Mary Montagu-Scott, High Sherriff of Hampshire, said: “I think it’s the most fantastic thing Scouting, because it gets young people out into the real world and the environment around us. Volunteering for this amazing, life-changing adventure is utterly remarkable. If adults have the time and energy, they should sign up today.”

Nigel Atkinson, Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, added: “The challenges Scouting provides young people is not only fun but the life skills they earn helps them to become more rounded and employable citizens. As an employer, I look out for Scouting on the CV as I know that individual has achieved so much. Wherever I go and see an adult who has time on their hands, I say to them ‘what about joining the Scouts?’”

For more details about Scouting, visit or call 0345 300 1818.