Tributes to New Romney’s Mr Scouting – Eddie Holtum

Eddie cutting the cake at the Beaver 33rd Birthday party  October 2015

‘A true gentleman, he always had time for everyone’  ‘Inspirational’  ‘A great Scouter, generous, loyal and a good listener’  ‘One of our best Leaders – always saw the good in everybody and turned negatives into positives’  ‘Kind – with smiley eyes’ ‘Eddie always supported Leaders – and worked tirelessly to promote Scouting’



Eddie epitomized the values of Scouting and the Scouting Adventure.  He was born to Scout – although he didn’t realize it until son Graeme joined the 1st New Romney Group.  Back in the late sixties we needed a Scout Leader – so began Eddie’s lifelong love of Scouting – firstly as Skip, in charge of the Scout Troop and Venture Scouts, later as Group Scout Leader, then District Commissioner for Romney Marsh Scouting.  Eddie’s commitment to Scouting was phenomenal  - the number of youngsters and Leaders who have benefitted from his direction is amazing.  Eddie made Scouting a huge part of his family life and he was always proud of his family and the commitment they made to Scouting.  With Graeme, wife Ruby was an ardent supporter, along with her sister Evelyn – in charge of raffles; tombolas; refreshments and any task Eddie couldn’t find anybody else to do.  Daughter Mary became a Leader with Pluto Cub pack and the grandchildren followed into Scouting. The Adventure still continue as Eddie’s great grandson Jordan is an Explorer with Hythe unit.

Eddie’s summer Scout camps – along with partner in crime – Dick Dewey – were legendary.  Back in the day when money was tight - the Scouts would borrow any available transport – usually a lorry, load hay bales into the back for seating – followed by the bell tents and rudimentary cooking equipment.  Off they would go for a week back to nature – rope swings from trees; campfire songs and skits; hiking; outdoor cooking; bridging the gap – leaping across stream and dykes; acting as human diving boards – all good natured and all good fun.

As Group Scout Leader Eddie set up the two Cub Packs – Mulberry and Pluto – he was always proud to connect with Marsh history and keep the true focus for the Cubs.   Behind the scenes he worked hard with the Leaders to secure funding for the new 1st New Romney HQ which he was proud to formally open in 1999.     

Later as 1st New Romney Group President Eddie continued to take an active part.  He loved Scouting events and always looked forward to the St George’s Day Celebrations, Christmas Coffee and the AGM – a time for renewing friendships and taking the Group forward. His storytelling was legendary – Eddie always had a story and could entrance an all age audience with tales of Scouting past and present.  He was fiercely proud that the 1st New Romney Beaver Colony with his direction was the first in Kent.  We celebrated our 33rd birthday in October 2015 – Eddie came and cut the cake.  Even at 91 he was able to lead the Beavers in the Blackbird Song – his favouritest campfire song ever!!

Life wasn’t always easy in Scouts – as Eddie discovered!  One particular event which springs to mind was the Christmas Fayre – Eddie won the poinsettia in the raffle – generous as ever he donated it to one of the parents.  Ruby wanted to win the plant – needless to say relations were decidedly frosty – Ruby was not happy and never truly forgave Eddie.  Years later they were able to share the experience and laugh about it - That was Eddie – always smiling, always laughing and always turning life’s lemons into lemonade – and that’s the legacy he will leave with the 1st New Romney Group.