A ROYAL Navy commander from Middle Wallop has become the 14th adult volunteer leader of Hampshire Scouts.

Commander (Cdr) Martin Mackey has been appointed the organisation's county commissioner after taking over from his predecessor Adam Jollans.

The appointment ceremony to be lead volunteer saw the statue of a silver elephant pass from Mr Jollans to Cdr Mackay who has previously enjoyed a variety of volunteer roles in Portsmouth, London and Andover.

On taking over the role, he said: "I would like to build on everyone’s hard work, aiming to make scouting in Hampshire even better.

"I am also keen that we give more and more young people and adult volunteers the chance to experience scouting and to enjoy the wonderful life-changing opportunities it offers.”

On adult volunteering he continued: "There are so many different roles that people can do, all of which can be suited to the time they have available.

"Whether someone wants to work directly with young people delivering frontline scouting each week or only has the time to provide support in the background, there’s something for everyone.

"I’ve managed to balance a very busy, demanding professional life with bringing up a family and being a volunteer with the scouts, so I know it can be done.

"And, with a nationally recognised award-winning training programme, every adult has the opportunity to learn how to carry out their role effectively plus enjoy the added benefits of having their CV boosted by being a volunteer and an active member of their community.”

In the organisation's 110-year history Hampshire has become the largest scouting county in the UK, with over 25,000 youth members and adult volunteers.

As well as enabling young people to experience adventures in the UK, many have visited countries around the world with some having even reached the summit of Everest in the past.

On handing over the silver elephant, Mr Jollans, an IBM program director from Hook, said: “It’s been an amazing eight years leading Hampshire Scouts.

"We’ve opened over a hundred new sections (for beaver scouts, aged from six, to scout network, aged up to 25), empowered young people to shape their scouting, and supported expeditions around the globe.

"Scouting is all about adventure, youth development, and creating a better world and I’ve been lucky enough to see these in action from a Thursday evening cub scout meeting cooking on an open fire to scouts hillwalking in the Lake District.

"Most recently I’ve just returned from visiting over 100 explorer scouts (aged 14 to 18) and adult volunteers in Tanzania where they helped build primary schools and medical centres. I’ve been blown away by how much scouting can change lives.”

For more information, visit scouts.org.uk or call 0345 3001818.