Queen’s Scout Award for intrepid explorer

MP Alistair Burt with Jason Lattimer
MP Alistair Burt with Jason Lattimer

An explorer scout took part in a year long Bear Grylls style adventure.

Jason Lattimer of Biggleswade spent a year on the island of Borneo in order to earn his Queen’s Scout Award – the first award of this type in Biggleswade for 30 years.

The 19-year-old required team work, teaching skills, a sense of humour and considerable courage in the face of marauding insects and the elements!

Jason used his gap year to volunteer for a Project Trust adventure of a lifetime. He taught Malaysian young adults English, maths and scouting skills to help them get jobs on the island.

It was a community project that was the last challenge for his Queen’s Scout Award but it also proved to be a test of nerve and endurance that he will never forget.

Climbing a palm tree for a lunch of fresh coconut one day brought Jason face to face with an army of fierce red ants who were nesting in one coconut shell. He almost fell 30 feet after the annoyed and now homeless ants attacked.

Later he had a brush with a giant spider the size of a dinner plate. It looked quite docile until one of his students told him the sting was lethal. He said: “The poison takes effect in five minutes and the nearest hospital is half an hour drive away.”

Once, sleeping on the beach, he woke to find a giant rat asleep on his chest.

Jason comes from a long line of scouting relatives. His maternal grandparents, John and Barbara King, were leaders with the Biggleswade Scout Group in the 1970s and his parents Jon and Bev are both explorer scout leaders with his Unit.

Jason was presented with his certificate by MP Alistair Burt. Mr Burt said: “It is an honour that I am sure will give you many benefits in your working life as a member of this great organisation.”