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Bear Grylls appointed Chief Scout

17 May 09 23:46 GMT

The Wiltshire adventurer and TV personality Bear Grylls has been named as the UK's latest Chief Scout.

At 34 he will be the youngest person to hold the position.

Mr Grylls says he aims to inspire more adults to volunteer as leaders, so the 33,000 young people currently on waiting lists can join Scout groups.

He was the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest, aged 23, and has presented television programmes such as Born Survivor and Escape to the Legion.

Mr Grylls from Ramsbury, near Marlborough, was appointed by The Council of the Scout Movement at a special meeting in London and will be expected to promote the policies and benefits of Scouting.

He will be invested at a handover ceremony with outgoing Chief Scout Peter Duncan later in the year.

"I feel hugely honoured to be asked to take up this role as Chief Scout - it really is a dream come true," he said.

"I have always loved helping young people live their dreams and to taste real adventure… as well as getting caked in mud!"

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His appointment comes at a time when waiting lists to join Scout groups across the UK remain at an all-time high.

"I hope I can use this post to encourage masses of adults in the UK to volunteer as leaders," he said.

"The young people in this country need them like never before, and we have more people wanting to join than there are places available.

"But by volunteering, adults can actively make a difference to young people's lives in their community, and there is no better way to be part of an adventure and have loads of fun, than with the Scouts."

Safa Cheema, a 14-year-old Explorer Scout from Bristol, said: "All of us are really excited about Bear becoming Chief Scout.

"He's really inspirational and I think he's going to be a great chief."

The outgoing Chief Scout, Peter Duncan, said he felt he had learned a lot during his time in the job.

The former Blue Peter presenter said: "I have particularly connected to the grass roots and have enjoyed seeing the adventurous and environmental awareness aspects of Scouting increase during my time as leader.

"I have learnt so much being part of a large organisation, honing the skills of presentation, thinking on my feet and discovering how to communicate an inspirational message for young people."

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