Belfast Telegraph

Singer Corry to celebrate scouting centenary

By Linda McKee

Scouting in Northern Ireland is riding the crest of a wave - and former Scout Peter Corry will be celebrating this weekend with an entertainment extravaganza.

Northern Ireland is one of the fastest growing regions for scouting in the UK, adding around 1,000 members over the past four years to bring the total up to 10,000 - the highest level in 10 years.

And this weekend, the last major event celebrating the centenary of scouting will be held at the Waterfront Hall - Fleur de Lis, an evening of popular and show music and entertainment looking back over the past 100 years.

The show on Saturday will be headlined by singer Peter Corry, who was once a Scout in east Belfast.

"Although I now work largely outside Northern Ireland, with a busy touring schedule in Europe, US, Australia and Canada, I'm extremely pleased to be taking part in this show," he said.

"For me, scouting was a great time and I have been able to draw upon those very positive experiences throughout my life."

Producers Paul Bennington and Colin Boyd said the show would feature music from each of the last 10 decades.

Colin said: "Peter Corry will be supported by his band, and we'll also have the Belfast Operatic Company, plus a number of Scouts of various ages, to ensure there is real scouting emphasis to the show.

"And, although this is not like the old-style Gang Shows - the last one here was in 1987 - there will be echoes of those shows in some of the music and comedy that will be performed."

Ken Gillespie, executive commissioner for Northern Ireland, said the Province is one of fastest growing scouting regions in the UK and the number of inquiries from young people interested in joining is at its highest level in 30 years.

"We believe we have every chance of sustaining this growth in new members because of this tremendous increase in the numbers of young people who want to know more about scouting.

"One of the major causes of this increase came four years ago when scouting was made more attractive to young people," he said.

"A major shift was with the uniform, which hadn't changed for 30 years. Today Scouts can wear cargo trousers, sweat shirts and polo shirts," he said.

"Camping and hiking are still at the core of today's programme, and continue to be very popular even for this computer literate generation. But now these activities are done with a modern twist, so, where we once did backwoods cooking, now we teach survival skills."

In Northern Ireland, the centenary celebrations involved over 200 special events.

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