Sheffield Scout Archives




Kenneth Atkin
1929 - 2001

"Ken joined the 59th Sheffield (St. Augustine's) Scout Group as a Wolf Cub in 1937 and remained an active member of the Group for the rest of his life. Although he worked as a leader throughout the Group his main interest was always in the senior sections and he served as a leader with both the Senior Scout Troop and Rover Crew, prior to the implementation of the Advance Party Report in 1967. His ability to lead others to select a decision that he had already decided was legendary as was his rumoured ability to recite POR backwards. Although basically a 59th Group person Ken worked at District level as ADC Senior and Venture Scouts in Rivelin District. Ken was appointed 59th's Group Scout Leader in 1991 and although forced to retire at 65 he continued to act in that role under the guise of an Instructor until his death. As GSL Ken also accepted the responsibility for many years of the Sheffield 10 portion of the Scout Christmas Post Scheme. Ken was awarded the Silver Wolf for his services to the Scout Movement in 1992.

Although his uniformed service with the 59th Group lapsed from 1967 to 1991 he was still totally involved with the Group and especially its headquarters building. Through his professional skill as an architect and surveyor he initiated, over a 20 year period, a large number of probable schemes to give the Group a home and led the detailed investigation into each of them. When finally all the jigsaw pieces of one scheme fell into place he designed the actual building and then led the team in the erection of what is arguably the best Scout headquarters in the City. Ken's leading however was not simply one of design; large parts of the building were actually constructed by him and he and his team were on site for weeks and months and years until the building's opening in 1972.

Ken also made his professional skills available to all members of the Movement in Sheffield and South Yorkshire and he assisted many Groups in their own schemes as well as advising the City and County on their properties. He was a founder member of the Hucklow Committee and led the redesigning of that building from the Old Playhouse into the Scout Centre. He continued to take a positive interest in Hucklow literally until the week he died.

Ken was not simply a Scout person nor a building person. He was a committed member of St. Augustine's Church all his life and served for many years as Warden or Deputy Warden. He served for many years as an active trade unionist at the Town Hall where his diplomatic skills and calm temperament coupled with his wry sense of humour will have tempered many possible hot spots.

His other terests included railways, genealogy and local history. In all activities Ken was supported by Kathy, Robert his son and by his stepson and daughter.

Ken led by example, firmly, fairly and patiently to a high accurate standard but also with his own special brand of humour. He encouraged everyone with quiet, simple words of praise although brevity was not his forte (his phone calls were legendary and it is rumoured that BT shares fell in value on news of his death). These attributes were clearly illustrated by his calm acceptance of the news that he had a terminal illness, by his preparations for his death and the detailed instructions to others of what had to be done, by his attendance at meetings whenever his health allowed until his death and by his thank you notes in his last week resigning from activities and thanking individuals for their support.

Ken was a true Scout who will be missed by all of his many colleagues and friends but most of all by the members, old and new, of the 59th Group to which he devoted his life and with which he will always be associated

From a Tribute in Scout News (Vol 55 No 8) by David Worth