Our Region was shocked by the sudden and unexpected passing of James de Scande (Jimmy/Baloo) on Thursday 25 April 2024.

Jimmy was never part of the Movement as a child, joining in 2001 as an Adult Pack Helper at 1st Walmer Scout Group. Clearly, a deep love for the Movement was borne as this was followed by him becoming an Assistant Pack Scouter (2003), Pack Scouter (2005), and then Group Scouter (2010). A firm believer in adult training, he obtained his Wood Badge in 2011. In his time with 1st Walmer his hard work and diligence was recognised on a number of occasions – receiving the Chief Scouts Commendation (2006), a certificate of merit (2013), and long service awards.

He was instrumental in the growth and redevelopment of 1st Walmer. Not only in relation to the members, but the grounds, equipment, and facilities as well. Due to his leadership, 1st Walmer has become a shining example of what can be done with vision and hard work.

In 2021 he left 1st Walmer to head up a fledgling Regional Team as the Regional Commissioner (RC). During his time as RC, the Region saw the re-establishment of adult training, the creation of a proper and operational Regional Structure (no small task), and the exponential growth in optimism and activity within the Region. He stepped down as RC at the end of 2023 due to health reasons. However, he remained a key figure within the Regional Team and was in the process of pioneering a new Regional Team Co-Ordinator (“RTC”) role in Scouting – RTC Group Structures.

Jimmy was a true leader with an aura of gentle authority. He placed the well-being (and recognition) of others before himself. He created a space for his team members to grow and develop, encouraging the sharing of ideas and debate. And all the while, the team would be secure in the knowledge of his full support. He was a man of vision, who loved new ideas and approaches and was not afraid to try a new approach to a challenge. A humble man who never expressed the desire to be the most knowledgeable person in the room and was never afraid to learn something new – regardless who from. He had a quiet tenacity, which meant he was not impatient in delay as he had the ability to hew the way to practically any goal no matter the difficulty – “one foot in front of the other” as he would often say. He was also devoted to his family, who he loved greatly and was immensely proud of.

Walmer Scout Group and our Region are forever enriched by his tireless hard work and devotion to the Movement. His impact is evident by the condolences being sent by many within our Region, but also from outside our Region.

In Scouting, it is traditional to describe the passing of a member by stating that they have “Gone Home”. While Jimmy may have Gone Home, his legacy lives on in the lives of those who had the immense honour of knowing and working alongside him – who no doubt learnt innumerable lessons along the way.  To all those who knew him, I challenge you to honour him by furthering his legacy through doing your best, and taking the best lessons learnt from Jimmy and pass them on to further generations.

Yours in Scouting
Neil O’Brien
Regional Commissioner