A Carndonagh man who was awarded the highest honour in scouting said he accepted it on behalf of “the team.”
Michael McCarron was presented with the Order of Cu Chulainn at a ecumenical service and parade in Sacred Heart church in Carndonagh to celebrate the Errigal County Scout Founder’s Day.
Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Michael, who joined the 8th Donegal Scouts in Carndonagh 40 years ago, said he got “bit of a surprise” when he was presented with the award by Christy McCann, chief scout of Scouting Ireland.
Mr McCarron said: “All the awards that had to be presented were finished and then as it went on, Christy McCann said he had another special award to present. I was wondering to myself: ‘Who could be getting this?’ and was looking around me. I thought at first it might have been Ailish (Tully, Michael’s daughter and Group Leader of 8th Donegal Scouts), because she has done so much work. Then, he said the word ‘he,’ so I knew it wasn’t Ailish. It was only when he said that the recipient was a former Leader of CBSI (Catholic Boys Scouts Ireland) that I said to myself: ‘Oh, good God. I think it’s me.’
Michael received a standing ovation from the almost 1,000 scouts and their leaders from Errigal County who were in attendance. He modestly quipped how he thought he was going to be “canonised” due to the tributes paid to him.
Mr McCann described Michael as the “steadfast rock on which local scouting is built” and as someone who “totally embraces the core principles of scouting.”
He added how Michael a “beacon of leadership” to adults and young people within scouting and through his “quiet and unheralded influence he has played a key role in the development and maintenance of scouting in isolated areas of Donegal and particularly in Carndonagh.”
Michael is keen to stress that he accepted his reward on behalf of all the “team” at 8th Donegal Scouts in Carndonagh, adding: “If there isn’t that great team working together then you can’t do it.”
He told how he joined the group 40 years ago when a committee was being set up in the town, with the intention of remaining there for “just a short time.”
As he speaks, Michael’s enthusiasm for scouting is evident and he tells how the motto is to ‘do a good deed every day.’
One of his highlights of the past 40 years was a trip they took to France in 1996 and the many fundraising ventures which took place. One of these was the cutting and harvesting of turf, which were then sold to raise money for the trips. There have also been many other camping and trips away and more recently these have included Belgium in 2011, a cross-border, cross-community visit to World War 1 and 2 memorial sites in Europe in 2014.
Michael said the activities undertaken by the group are wide-ranging and said while he’s taken a bit of a back seat recently he is still very much involved.
The recent award was just the icing on the cake for him and he said he’s “very proud” to accept it.
He said: “I’m very honoured. It’s the highest award scouting can bestow and I never expected to get it.”
See more pictures on page 12. A number of other awards were presented on the day including awards for 25 years, 15 years, 10 years and five years service.