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7-SHARKEY

First Catholic appointed head of Scouts Scotland

A Catholic school headteacher has been appointed as the new chief commissioner for Scouts Scotland, which means he is now the leader of more than 50,000 scouts across the country

Andrew Sharkey, headteacher at St Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn, West Lothian, was installed as the new chief commissioner last week at the Blair Atholl Jamborette (below), an international Scout gathering.

Mr Sharkey, who has been the headteacher at St Kentigern’s for nearly five years, said: “I’m really looking forward to getting around and seeing excellent Scouting happening all over the country and enabling the good practice to be shared widely and developed further.

“I joined the Scouts at age eight, and have stayed in the movement ever since, initially as a Cub, Scout and Venture Scout and, when I turned 18, I became a leader.

“Since then I have held a range of Scottish and UK positions as well as writing materials and providing training.”

It is thought that Mr Sharkey is the first Catholic to be appointed to the position of chief commissioner to the Scouts, but he insisted that the organisation is an inclusive, values-based movement.

“We support our members to engage with spirituality in an exciting and meaningful way. Scouts Scotland is open to people of all faith backgrounds and none,” he said. “As its leader I will continue to develop this approach and support all our young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society.”

Mr Sharkey added he is very much looking forward to reaching out to communities who currently don’t have scouting.

He said: “I’m excited at having the opportunity to further develop scouting.

“This will include getting Scottish Scouting to better reflect the diversity of our communities and getting scout groups started in areas that ­currently don’t have scouting, particularly in our more deprived communities.”

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