When you mention scouting in Limavady, there is one name that has a long association with the organisation,
that of Kevin King.
The 64-year-old, originally from Faughanvale, moved to Limavady 40 years ago, which is almost as long as he has been involved in with 25th Derry.
Sadly, for those who have come to know Kevin and work alongside him, he is retiring next month.
“You give your time and you’re happy to do so, but there comes a time when you have nothing left to give and it’s time for some fresh insight,” says Kevin.
However, Kevin is retiring from 25th Derry in style, and his years of service have been recognised. To his surprise, the father-of-four received the Gold Meritorious Award at a ceremony on Thursday in Limavady. Fellow leaders, Mary Owens and Pat McLaughlin received Silver Meritorious Awards.
“I didn’t know I was getting the award until it happened,” said Kevin, delighted. “It was a complete surprise and well, you don’t do these things for the awards, but scouting has been a good part of my life and, yes, this is special.”
Kevin said it was through his son, Simon, that he became involved.
“Simon wanted to get involved so I went along,” said Kevin, explaining his son sadly passed away aged 15.
Over the years, Kevin, a former Scout Commissioner for the region, has met lots of people from around the world and enjoyed his fair share of mishaps, some akin to episodes from a ‘Carry On’ movie.
“I remember one time we went camping and, you talk about rain; the rain was coming in one side of the tent and out the other. It got so dangerous they had to call it off,” he recalled.
There was also the time when they were in Glasgow and their van packed with supplies and kit broke down and they had to hire another van to get it.
“It’s a lot of work behind the scenes, a lot of organising,” said Kevin, “but I’ve enjoyed it.”
Among the many highlights for the growing organisation is the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Limavady when 25th Derry take part in the annual morning parade in the town. This year’s will be Kevin’s last.
One of the biggest challenges the group faced was when their premises at Bethany on Irish Green Street in Limavady were destroyed in an arson attack.
“We thought that was the end for us then, that we’d have to pack up,” said Kevin.
Luckily the group was able to secure new premises and have now settled in LCDI.
As he looks back on the last 35 years, Kevin says he has lots of fond memories and loves it when he meets people who talk about trips away with the scouts.
Kevin encourages parents to sign their children up with 25th Derry.
“It’s great fun and they get to learn some great skills,” he said.
Kevin expressed thanks to everyone he has worked alongside over the years and everyone who has volunteered and helped out. He also paid tribute to his family, including wife Sally, children Simon, Aaron, Carol and Vicki. “There have been a lot of people who have helped us out over the years, and I’m very grateful for that.” added Kevin.