Page last updated at 01:46 GMT, Friday, 26 December 2008

Cub scout achieves all 33 badges

Ben Spratling
Ben took two years to achieve all the badges

A 10-year-old boy has gained all 33 cub scout badges in what the Scout Association says is an incredible achievement.

Ben Spratling, from Norwich, in Norfolk, completed activities including canoeing, hiking and horse riding to gain the badges.

"It took me nearly two years, it was very difficult to accomplish but I feel quite proud," he said.

The number of badges on offer to cub scouts was increased this year to 33.

Ben said the most important badge that he had gained was emergency aid, as he now felt confident to help friends in an accident.

But he enjoyed his adventure badge the most because it taught him how to camp out with his friends.

Cub scout badges include:
Air activities
Animal carer
Athlete plus
Book reader
Global Conservation
Home help
Home safety
Local knowledge
Map reader
Martial arts
My faith
Personal safety
Physical reaction
Road safety
Sports enthusiast
Water activities
World faiths

Ben's mother, Debs Spratling, said she was thrilled that he had been awarded his final badge in time for Christmas.

"Ben has had a fantastic time trying out all the different activities and he's learned so much in the process.

"Joining the scouts has given Ben the chance to experience a huge range of activities.

"There is simply no other organisation in our area that provides eight to 10-year-olds with the opportunity to try activities ranging from canoeing and climbing to hiking and DIY."

A Scout Association spokesman said Ben was the first cub scout they were aware of who had achieved all 33 badges.

But it seems that another 10-year-old, Leon Johnson from Stockport, Greater Manchester, has also achieved all 33 on offer.

And back in 1997 two boys Tom O'Connell and Thomas Allen achieved the then maximum number of cub scout badges on offer at the time - 40 badges in total.

The Scout Association says it reviews the programmes it offers to members regularly to ensure that they are relevant.

The badges reflect their changing demands and interests while encouraging a healthy lifestyle, the association says.

"Many of the scouts up and down the country experience these activities already, the only difference being now they can be rewarded with a badge for their efforts," the spokesman added.

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