Scouts do great things but some of the best people in Scouting inspire others to do great things. That is the idea behind one of Hampshire's more unique and special awards, the Commander Bruce Award.
To give the award its full name, the Lieutenant Commander Henry V Bruce Award is awarded to members of Hampshire Scouts who have inspired others, encouraged them to reach higher and made a difference.
It came about in 2013 when the Bruce family donated some money to Hampshire Scouts from a collection taken at the memorial service of the late Lieutenant Commander Henry V Bruce. He was a former chair of Hampshire Scouts and Explorer Scouts from the county carried a flag leading a procession into Winchester Cathedral.
Presented annually, the award was originally given to an adult and a youth member of Hampshire Scouts, who had inspired and encouraged others in Scouts either over a period of time or at a one-off event. In 2019, the Bruce family increased the prize money from £50 to £500. By 2021, following a generous addition to the fund by another benefactor, the annual amount was increased to £2,000 split between those awarded the prize and by 2023 the prize pot sat at £1,000.
Young people are at the heart of the decision with the Hampshire Scouts Youth Council choosing the winners from the list of people nominated by volunteers across the county.
2013 - Mel Cooper, a Cub Scout from Gosport who gets stuck in regardless of what their Cystsic Fibrosis has to say about it, and Dave Young from Fareham who runs two Explorer Units and can often be found running activities for the Explorers of his area.
2014 - Rosemary Harrison, an activity instructor with Ferny Crofts who overcame a viral infection in the brain to continue inspiring others, and Sherren Corser from Portchester who runs a Beaver and Cub section single-handedly (literally).
2015 - Bethany Harrison, a Scout from Sholing who inspires by throwing herself into activities despite having Cystic Fibrosis, and Jackie Heath from the New Forest who is heavily involved in Scout efforts abroad including in the Gambia.
2016 - Henry Hersey, a Beaver Scout who looked after an elderly lady who had fallen in her house, and Kevin Holland from Winchester who has been inspiring young people for many years now!
2017 - Charlotte, a Cub Scout from Titchfield who acted quickly and bravely to help someone unconscious she found when out walking including guiding in the ambulance service.
2018 - Louis Soccard, an Explorer Scout and Top Awards ambassador who was instrumental in the new Young Leader rally and designed the new County necker.
2019 - Joe Dawson, a Scout who has made a great contribution to youth shaped Scouting in Gosport, so much so he was created a District Youth Champion as he was too young to be a Youth Commissioner.
2020 - Daniel Cooper, Youth rep for Hampshire Scouts who was heavily involved in virtual events during the pandemic.