Veteran scout leader first to scale new climbing wall in Tolworth

On the up: Alan Thomas scaling the wall

On the up: Alan Thomas scaling the wall

First published in This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter - Surbiton + Chessington - 020 8722 6313

A scout leader who joined the movement in 1936 was the first to scale a new climbing wall he helped built in Tolworth.

Alan Thomas, president of 1st Tolworth scouts and formerly a keen mountaineer, had donated money to the group to spend on keeping its members active.

A donation from former Beaver scout leader Margaret Warry helped the group complete the wall’s installation.

Mr Thomas, who lives in Berrylands, spent decades leading scouting expeditions to Wales, the Lake District and Europe.

He said: “The group leaders came up with the idea of building a climbing wall because they knew my history of mountaineering with scouting over nearly 40 years.

“They thought a climbing wall would be much to my liking and would fulfil the idea I had expressed about seeing youngsters enjoying the fruits of my expenditure while I was still alive.”

At a ceremony on Sunday he scaled the wall – to be named after him – and rang a bell to officially declare it open for use.

Mr Thomas, 86, said: “The instructor had me on a safety rope – by my request he gave me a bit of a pull up.

“The wall was very busy with youngsters trying to climb it.

“I very much enjoyed seeing what they were doing.

“It went extremely well.”



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