In England, The Daily Mail reports that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is to become a volunteer helper at her local scout group as part of a new package of royal patronages. Kate will wear the Scout Association’s distinctive blue shirt and scarf as she lends a hand at meetings close to the rented farmhouse she shares with Prince William on Anglesey. She will also be required to take the Scout Promise – vowing to ‘do my best to do my duty to God and to the Queen, To help other people, And to keep the Scout Law’.
At the age of eight, Kate enrolled as a brownie with the 1st St Andrew's pack in Pangbourne, Berkshire, so has some experience of the movement.
From next month she is due to help out on an ad hoc basis with cub scout packs and beaver scout colonies in the North Wales region, working with boys and girls aged from six to ten. Girls have been allowed to join the Scouts since 1976. Last year 4,330 joined the movement, compared to 3,796 boys.
A St James’s Palace spokesman told the Mail that the Duchess had been keen to become involved as she ‘loved the idea of Scouting and working hands-on with children’ and felt it tied in with her own interest and hobbies, particularly the outdoors. More importantly, however, she hoped to raise public awareness of the dire shortage of adult volunteers.
Although there are more than 500,000 Scouts in the UK, there is currently a waiting list of more than 33,500 children due to the lack of helpers. ‘The Duchess is to become a volunteer in the Scout Association, volunteering her time privately with groups in north Wales and elsewhere as opportunity arises,’ a royal aide said.