Tribute given to a ‘Scout, president, friend, supporter’

John White gave years of his life to the cause of Scouting in Polegate before his death in July.
John White gave years of his life to the cause of Scouting in Polegate before his death in July.

A GUARD of honour was formed by Scouts at a funeral to honour the memory of a man who passionately promoted the Scouting movement in Polegate for 50 years.

John Bernard White, aged 89, of Hankham Lodge, died on July 6 and his funeral was held at St John’s Church in Polegate on July 26.

Scouts paraded their colours at the funeral of Mr White who restarted Polegate Scouts group in July 1960. He held the position of group Scoutmaster for nearly 26 years and was assistant district commissioner for leader training. He also served as both vice-president of the Eastbourne District Scout Council, and president of First Polegate Scouts.

Mr White’s numerous Scouting accolades include the Chief Scout’s Long-Service Award and the Silver Acorn for ‘exceptional service’.

Jayne Bigsby, Group Leader of First Polegate, said: “First Polegate Scouts will be forever indebted to John White for restarting the group following the Second World War. We were fortunate to be with him for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, where an oak sapling was planted by the Lord Leutenant on behalf of the Scouts and Mr White was presented with a Jubilee medal and personally thanked for all he had done over the last 50 years.

“It’s a great comfort that he was able to share that day with us in the company of Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and leaders of First Polegate and members of the Eastbourne District along with the Kingfisher Scout Band. 

“We have lots of memories and photographs of that day.  He will be remembered by First Polegate as a Scout, president, friend and constant supporter.”

Mr White’s Scouting interest began when he joined 5th Sidcup at the age of 16. Two years later, he became their assistant Scoutmaster, a position he held from 1940 to 1948.

He served in Egypt in the ‘Y’ station, an outstation of Bletchley Park, during the Second World War. He was awarded the Freedom of Bletchley Park in 2007.

He married Edna in 1949 and they moved to Eastbourne and he worked as an accountant. The couple moved to Polegate with their daughter Barbara in 1958. Mr White was involved in the opening of Polegate Community Centre.