A retired teacher, canal history buff and long-serving member of the scouting movement has received the ultimate badge of recognition in the New Year’s Honours.
Geoff Taylor, a vice president of Cheshire Scouts, is delighted to have received the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the Scouts and the community in Chester.
Mr Taylor, of Cambrian View, Chester , told The Chronicle scouting had been a huge part of his life having joined the Wolf Cubs as an eight-year-old when his group met in St Peter’s church hall in Goss Street, Chester.
Later, as leader of the 8th Chester Scout Group he met his late wife Mary, then a cub leader in Blacon , while helping to run ‘Scout About’ – the forerunner of the ‘Gang Show’ – at the Gateway Theatre.
He is currently chaplain for the faiths and beliefs team for Cheshire Scouts and heading up a group to organise an international camp for about 4,000 youngsters at Tabley in the summer of 2018.
Geoff, a former county commissioner for Cheshire Scouts and ex-district commissioner for Chester Scouts, said: “I don’t feel worthy of it but I have accepted it. I’m sure there are a lot of people who have done a lot more. But I have accepted it not just for myself but for scouting in Cheshire and in recognition of the work a lot of people do for the young people of Cheshire.”
Geoff, a former deputy headteacher of Helsby High School , said the necessity for schools to slavishly follow the national curriculum meant there were gaps in a young person’s broader education that scouting helped address.
“Scouting and guiding gives young people opportunities to do adventurous activities that they can’t anywhere else,” said Geoff, who believes scouting sets young people up for life.
He loves seeing youngsters gain confidence by learning new skills, making friends with scouts from other countries and different age groups working together on activities like the gang show to bridge the generational gap.
Geoff has a grown-up daughter Ruth, who was a venture scout and gained the Queen’s Scout Medal. Her six-year-old son Etienne, Geoff’s grandson, has just joined the scouting movement and is currently rehearsing for a Gang Show that will be performed at the King’s School.
He added: “Personally I feel very comfortable with young people. It’s lovely working with them and alongside them and supporting them.”
Aside from scouting, Geoff has been involved with the now defunct Canal Basin Community Forum and the many cultural activities that take place in the vibrant Garden Quarter . A practising catholic within St Werburgh parish, he is also involved with Chester Cathsoc, the catholic society at the University of Chester .
And Geoff is a director of the Chester Canal Heritage Trust and often gives talks on the history of Taylor’s Boatyard because it was his grandfather Joseph ‘Harry’ Taylor who bought the yard in the 1920s. The Taylor family owned and ran the yard until 1972.
Geoff will celebrate his achievement in the new year in ‘a quiet way’ with friends. “Perhaps we will raise a glass then,” he said.
Receiving a BEM is trumpeter Edwin Ian Fowles, of Bunbury , an ex-military bandsman and member of the Bunbury branch of the Royal British Legion, for voluntary service to ex-service personnel.
Made MBEs are Martin James Paul Cooke, from Tattenhall , for services to the arts and the community in Chester, Tattenhall and North Cornwall and Roderick John Heather, from Chester, for services to flood risk management.
Joining the same illustrious club is Mrs Karen Jones, of Neston , for services to children with life limiting Illnesses in the North West and North Wales, who is also made an MBE.