A tribute to Keith Stanley Berry, Group Scout Leader, ‘The Dittons’ Scout Group. 27th February 1944 - 26th March 2010. By Neville Biden, Dittons Scout Group Chairman.

Keith was enjoying being Group Scout Leader [GSL] for a second period, especially as the Group is in its Centenary Year and because he had also been GSL for the seventy-five year celebrations. His sudden death at the age of 66 has shocked and stunned his family, his many friends in Scouting and in the local Community.

Keith's funeral service on Friday 16th April at Randall’s Park Crematorium, and the Service of Thanksgiving for and Celebration of his life at St. Mary’s Church, Long Ditton, afterwards were attended by some 200 people. Lifelong friends, and more recent friends, shared reminiscences about him at the reception afterwards at The Group’s Headquarters, The Shack, in Claygate Lane, Thames Ditton.

Keith attended St. Mary’s Infant and Junior Schools before Hinchley Wood County Secondary School. His working career was in the Inland Revenue Department of the Civil Service.

He married Pauline Lilley, whom he had met through Scouting and Guiding, at St. Mary’s Church, Long Ditton, on 18th October 1969. They had two children Simon and Lisa and two grandchildren Thomas and William.

Keith followed his father, Stan, into The Dittons Scout Group when he became a Wolf Cub in October 1952. During the next ten years he progressed through the Scout Troop, Senior Scout Troop and into the Rover Scout Crew. He enjoyed the great outdoor activities of hiking and camping and became a lover of the flora and fauna of the natural world. He gained the Queens Scout Badge in March 1962 and was presented with the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award at Buckingham Palace on 13th June 1963. He took to heart the Rover motto of ‘Service’ and did his Scouting through the Rover Crew activities, supporting and helping with the wide range of activities of the various sections of the Group.

During his first period as GSL from 1984 –89 he was instrumental in the formation of the first Beaver Colony in the Group. Retiring as GSL he went back to his previous role of support and help. From 1995 to 2002 he was Secretary of the Esher District GSL Committee and from 2000 to 2008 held the appointment of Assistant District Commissioner for the Scout Fellowship. In July 2006 he started his second period as GSL.

Keith loved Bar-B-Qs and for more than 25 years cooked burgers and bangers at The Dittons Fair with Pauline and their pals Mike & Celia Chapman. Slaving over a hot Bar-B-Q on a burning summer’s day was a delight for Keith. A flaming bonfire, especially at The Shack where the space meant he could really express himself, gave Keith tremendous pleasure, and a bit of smoke always made life more interesting..

Relaxation came in the form of Sea fishing, playing Badminton and more recently he had taken up photography. He loved gardening, growing his own vegetables, and his greenhouse is stocked with tomato plants for distribution among his friends.

His activities in the Community included collecting Census returns; acting as Presiding Officer at Elections; Invigilating examinations at Surbiton High School; and staffing Molesey Police Station Desk and telephone one evening a week. between 7 and 9.

Since his death the most frequently heard comment has been that “Keith was ‘always there’ supporting and encouraging whoever it was in whatever it was. When he said he would do something or be somewhere for an activity or event you could rely on him to fulfil that promise. He was a quiet, unassuming, humble, mild and lovely man”. He was imbued with the Rover Scout Motto of ‘Service’ and he kept to it throughout his life.