Tributes to a Scout leader who achieved top honours

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A RASTRICK man who overcame numerous health problems to achieve one of Scouting’s highest honours has died at the age of 58.

Last year Steve Pratt became the first Brighouse Scout in the movement’s 104-history to be awarded the Silver Wolf, introduced by Lord Baden Powell, Scouting’s founder.

Mr Pratt was involved in Scouting for most of his life and was district commissioner in Brighouse from 1997 to 2010.

A diabetes sufferer since he was a teenager, Mr Pratt had his left leg amputated in 2004 after developing complications.

Mr Derek Dodkins, Brighouse Explorer Scouts leader, said: “Even during this worrying time his enthusiasm for Scouting did not leave him.

“He was talked out of retiring by all who knew him and he managed the district from his hospital bed.”

Later a kidney transplant failed after three months and Mr Pratt required regular dialysis.

Failing eyesight meant he had to give up driving and he accepted lifts to maintain his Scouting commitments but his dedication to the movement did not waver.

When Mr Pratt moved to West Yorkshire in the early 1980s to start a job at Huddersfield University, he volunteered to take over the ailing Scout group at St John’s Church, Rastrick, and turned it around.

While he was assistant district commissioner for Scouts he was responsible for several innovations including night hikes and camping competitions. He encouraged Scouts and young leaders to attend county and international events and summer camps.

Mr Dodkins said: “Steve had great enthusiasm and attention to detail. He built a rapport with Cubs and Scouts all over the district. His ability to recruit enthusiastic district supporters and encourage leaders and their ideas soon became the envy of many district commissioners in the county.

“He recruited a team to turn a rotting, smelly shed-like building into Bradley Lodge, an up-to-date training facility with indoor accommodation at Bradley Woods.”

Mr David Radley, former district commissioner in Brighouse, said Mr Pratt had made an immense contribution to Scouting and would be much missed.

Since retiring as district commissioner, Mr Pratt continued to serve as a district advisor.

The funeral service will be held at Fixby Crematorium on Monday, November 19 at 2pm.

At a later date a memorial service will be held at Bradley Woods Scout Camp where Mr Pratt has requested that his ashes be scattered.