12 members of 8th/26th Todmorden Scout Group and Calder Valley Explorer Scout Unit are on an expedition of a lifetime thanks to a generous grant of nearly £3000 made by the ELMC.

The group, aged 16-19 are currently on a 10-day canoeing expedition along the Dordogne River in France, working to achieve the Kings Scout, Explorer Belt and Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards – the first international expedition every made by members of 8th/26th Scout Group.

Along the way, they will be building skills and confidence around canoeing, water safety, fundraising and travelling abroad. They will also gain highly regarded qualifications which will help them move on to further education and employment.

The expedition members have worked extremely hard over the last 9 months fundraising in the community to help with expedition costs – running bake sales and much needed pop-up bacon butty stalls along popular walking routes around Todmorden Moors. The grant from the ELMC helped them meet their final funding goal and for the expedition to go ahead.

For those working towards their Explorer Belt, they must complete one major project – a study of the history and fortifications of the Dordogne River – and 10 minor projects which includes visiting memorials associated to those who lost their lives in WWII.

The Kings Scout Award is the highest achievement Scouts and Explorers can gain and recognises not only a major international expedition, but also continued commitment to community values. If successful, the expedition members will be the first in 8th/26th Todmorden Scout history to achieve it

Prior to submitting the funding bid, Scouts and Explorers visited Prudence Lodge in Todmorden for a tour and to find out more about the work Freemasons do in the local, national and international communities. They plan to return to Prudence Lodge to give a presentation on their expedition when they return.

The group hope that this will act as an exciting and inspirational challenge for younger members of 8th/26th Todmorden Scouts to work towards as they too plan to reach the highest and most demanding award in UK Scouting.