District Team

Kelvin Freeman
District Commissioner

I started my Scouting journey in 1974 as a Cub at 1st Tattenhams Scout Group and continues in the Movement through Scout and achieving my Queen Scout Award as a Venture Scout, before becoming the Venture Scout leader for four years before I took a break from Scouting in 1991.

I returned to Scouting in 2009 as 1st Tattenhams Group Scout Leader, after my boys joined Scouting as Beavers and have held the role ever since.

Over the past few years I have become more active within Banstead District as a Scout Active Support Member organising the District St George’s Day Parade and recently taken on the role of District Deputy Commissioner.

I run my own Engineering Consultancy specialising in Electrical infrastructure for major global sporting events so I’m fortunate to travel and experience cultures around the World.

In August 2018, I became the 2nd member of my family to become Banstead’s District Commissioner.

Mark Wingett
Deputy District Commissioner, District Campsite Manager , Scout Active Support Manager

I have been involved in Scouting since 1972 when I joined 1st Nork as a cub (they didn’t have Beavers then) where I gained the Bronze & Silver arrows. I went onto Scouts and gained what were then the Scout Standard, the Advanced Scout Standard and the Chief Scouts Award (the equivalent of today’s awards) and during this time also helped out every week at the Monday night Cubs. After being Asst. Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader and Senior Patrol Leader I moved up to the Venture Unit (today called Explorers) and was one of three scouts chosen to represent the District at the World Jamboree in Canada in 1983. During my time in the Ventures I gained the Venture Award and the Queen Scouts Award.

In January 1987, I became Assistant Scout Leader, my main role being the organisation and running of camps and later became the Scout leader and there I stayed for 15 years. I was briefly Assistant Group Scout Leader and then the District Explorer Scout Commissioner but then, in September 2004, I was offered the role of Assistant District Commissioner (Projects) which gives me the opportunity to take on challenging projects. One of these being Park Farm District Campsite Manager which takes up a lot of my time and since becoming warden in January 2006 myself and my team a climbing and abseiling wall in 2006. In 2008 we built an archery range and over the years redecorated many of the rooms. In 2014 we built a Cabin to house the Shooting range.

In May 2007 I set up the District Network Unit for which I was leader, responsible for the 18-25 year olds. In 2016 I set up the Scout Active Support Unit in the District. As well as those roles, I am Quartermaster for the 1st Nork Sout Group as well as helping with maintenance at the HQ. I am also a member of the District Appointments Advisory Panel.

In my time as leader I have camped well over 366 nights, attended/planed/run over 102 camps, attended numerous training courses and have earned the Wood Badge in Scouts and Network. In April 1998 I was awarded the Chief Scouts Commendation for Good Service, in June 2004 I was awarded the Medal of Merit. In April 2011 was awarded the Silver Acorn in August 2012 I was awarded my 30 years Service award. I have also gained the Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. In 2007 I was part of the Kayak team on the SPLASH International Service Team at the World Scout Jamboree in Essex. I am also a Climbing instructor and a National Rifle Shooting Association instructor. I have been, and still do, organise camps both Greenfield and campsite since 1987 and to date my largest number of attendees was 375 for our District camp in 2010. My biggest achievement to date (and proudest) was organising the Queens Diamond Jubilee event in Lady Nevill park in Banstead which involved rides, attractions, lighting of an official beacon and a 12 Minute firework display, approx 5,000 people from all over attended this event!

At the end of May 2019 I was asked to be Deputy District Commissioner by Kelvin to support him.

Melissa Vagg
District Communications Manager

I joined Banstead Explorers aged 14 having previously been a Brownie and Guide in Woodmansterne. I quickly got the bug for scouting and have made many close and valued friends along the way. The opportunities provided within scouting are unforgettable – I’ve sailed around the UK coast, flown a glider, discovered the British canals by boat and met so many incredible international friends whilst camping abroad and working at various international jamborees as a staff member.

In 2013 I disappeared to Aberystwyth university, Wales for 3 years and joined a local group, 2nd Penparcau, where I became an Assistant Cub Leader. Being so far from home was a challenge but this group became my second family. The cubs even taught me Welsh! Since leaving them I have returned to join the Explorers on several jamborees, including EIJ2016 and Denmark in 2017.

I joined Banternet Network at 17 and I am currently Chairman. I also edit The Ram newsletter for the district and I am part of the Surrey Media Team.

When the role of Youth Commissioner was introduced I jumped at the chance to be a part of the new initiative. It suits my current work situation well too as I can remain a part of scouting despite having to travel often! I work full time in Television as a researcher. I even use scouting in my job; whilst working on Channel 4’s ‘Hunted’ I got quite the reputation for being able to put up a tent in record time!

Liz Batten
Assistant District Commissioner (Beaver Scouts)

It was inevitable that I would become a Beaver Scout Leader. A very early school report mentioned my “leadership skills” (bossiness, in other words). I was a sport-loving tomboy and very cross not to be allowed to follow my brother into the Boys’ Brigade. And then after Uni, I very nearly became a maths teacher. So now I’ve harnessed all those things and have great fun every Thursday night, bossing around my little Beaver Scouts and joining in their boisterous games and activities. And the maths is still useful for the odd head count!

Frank Jones
Assistant District Commissioner (Cub Scouts)

I joined Scouting in 1988 as an Assistant Cub Scout leader in Woodmansterne, then became the Cub Scout leader of Dawson pack and later progressed to Group scout leader in 1996. I took up my current appointment as Assistant District Commissioner for Cubs in 1999. I am also a District training advisor and serve on the District appointments committee and the Scout Active support unit.

Caroline Pepper
District Cub Leader

Although I enjoyed being a Brownie I completed just one year of Guides before giving up after my dismal cold and wet Summer camp experience. Given this history and convinced I was not the “outdoors type”, no one was more surprised than me when after being asked to come along to a Cub Scout meeting by someone I met at my first job after University, I found I adored it. I signed up to be an Assistant Cub Leader almost immediately.

After getting married (to a Queen Scout) and moving into the Banstead area, I rang my local group to see if they needed help. I was warmly welcomed and became Akela for over 10 years. My working life over the last 20 years has involved a lot of international travel and combined with family life a weekly commitment was becoming too much so stepping into the role of District Cub Leader in 2008 became a more practical way of staying in Scouting.

I am now primarily responsible for assisting the ADC Cub Scouts with District Activities such as camps, fun days, competitions and celebrations as well as organising the District Cub Leader Christmas meal. In addition I take minutes at various meetings and provide support to Cub Packs as needed. I am also a training adviser.

Over the last few years and now that my children are older, I have become more involved with international Scouting. I went to Kandersteg with the County and have been a member of the International Service Team (IST) at the World Scout Jamboree in Japan as well as Moot in Iceland and this year at Roverway in Holland. I also help with SCRAM and Scoutabout. I am enjoying mixing my Scouting hobby with my love of travel.

After over 25 years in Scouting it turns out I don’t mind the outdoors after all!

David Shepherd
District Assistant Commissioner (Scouts) & District Explorer Scout Commissioner

I have been a scout member since 1973 being involved in some aspect at Nork for all of that time. Since 2004 I have also been part of the district team becoming Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts and then also Explorer Commissioner as well. At a county level I have been part of the activities planning team for Scoutabout since 2004.

At Nork I was a cub (no Beavers in those days), scout and venture, also being what would be regarded as a young leader in 1980. Assisting with all camps I eventually became venture leader. With an interest in adventurous activities I have held canoeing, walking, climbing and shooting permits for many years.

As well as working with the young people I have been involved in the maintenance, development management of Equipment at 1st Nork Headquarters for many years and was involved in many projects at our District Headquarters, Park Farm, in the past.

Holly Freeman
District Explorer Scout Administrator
Zach Pepper
District scout Network Commissioner
District scout Network Commissioner
Stuart Barber
Assisstant District Commissioner (Activities)
Len Butler
Assistant District Commissioner (PR)

I joined the Cubs at 17th Purley St John’s Old Coulsdon when I was 9 and have never left Scouting since!

When I was 18, I became an Assistant Cub Scout Leader and the soon after, an Assistant Scout Leader as well as being a Rover Scout. I met my wife Mary when at the same Scout Group and we married in 1967. In 1970, we moved to Banstead and we both joined 3rd Banstead where I became the Assistant Scout Leader and then the Assistant Venture Scout Leader. Later I became a part of the District team as Assistant Commissioner for Scouts.

At County level, I chaired 3 Scoutabout committees over 9 years and was Assistant County Commissioner for PR for a while. I have also been the County Insurance Adviser for the last 20+ years.

I am proud to have been awarded the Silver Wolf and Surrey County Council’s Chairman’s Award.

I have always loved Scouting and the structured training relative to the outside life. Camping skills and cooking etc. As a young ASL at camp, I remember crossing the camp and the rising smell of wood smoke and frying bacon passing my nostrils.

As a leader I know it has helped many young people keep on the right track in life when they have had difficult times.

Jan Jobson
District Training Administrator

I first went to camp with the Cubs at the age of six as my mother was a ‘Scout Mistress’ at 1st Walton-on-the-Hill. I joined Brownies at seven and then went on to Guides, attending many camps and activities.

I joined 24th Reigate (South Nutfield) in 1989 and became an Assistant Cub Scout Leader. Within the next five years I progressed to Cub Scout Leader and District Cub Scout Leader in Reigate. In 1995 I was appointed as Assistant District Commissioner (Cub Scouts) in Reigate District, leaving this role to become Assistant County Commissioner (Cub Scouts) in 2005. I have held every leadership role for Cub Scouts which has given me the opportunity to be involved with planning and participating in many and varied activities which would not be available outside scouting. In 2014 I became the District Commissioner for Banstead District which brought me back to the District where it all began.

In the summer of 2018, I stepped down as DC and took on the role of Training Administrator.

Youth Commissioner
Colin Griffiths
District Chair

I became involved in scouting over 30 years ago when my sons joined Beavers and Cubs although I myself was never a scout. Through them I helped at the annual Gang Shows that 3rd Banstead put on and also took part in old time musicals that were held for fund raising. It was after this in 1988 that I was invited to take over as Chairman of the group, a role that I performed for over 20 years. My claim to fame over that period was the decision that the old headquarters were unfit for purpose and after much fundraising and the gaining of grants were able to build a new, large headquarters that included a meeting room, full size sports hall with an internal climbing wall, catering kitchen and adequate storage. During my time there I worked with some of the most inspirational people you would ever wish to meet and saw the introduction of girls into all sections. I received an award of a Silver Acorn in 2009 and took great pride in attending Windsor Castle for the ceremony.

When in 2003 the Chairman of Banstead District indicated that he wished to stand down due to ill health, I was invited to take over. In 2004 I was nominated as District Chairman and accepted the role. It is and has been a privilege to work with such a dedicated team who put so much into scouting in Banstead.

District Secretary
Simon Payne
District Treasurer

My first introduction to Scouting was in the early 1970’s when I joined the Ash cub pack at 3rd Banstead.  After three enjoyable years (and my first taste of camping) I moved on to the Scouts and to further challenges and adventures.  In 1979, a small group of us successfully re-established the Group’s Venture Scout Unit with a varied programme of activities which attracted both older Scouts and people completely new to Scouting.  In 1984, I became involved with the finance side of the Group, implementing a deed of covenant scheme (the predecessor of Gift Aid) to reclaim the tax on Group members’ subscriptions.  I administered the scheme for the subsequent decade.

In the following years I didn’t have much direct involvement in Scouting but, in 2021, I was invited to join the District Scouts team as Treasurer.

Richard Salmon
District Shop Manager

I was a Cub, Scout, Venture Scout and Young Leader in Sussex through my youth, but dropped out of Scouting for a while after University, as much through lack of opportunity as anything else. When my son joined Cubs in Banstead I grabbed the chance to throw myself back into Scouting again. Currently, as well as being an Assistant Leader with 1st Nork Cub Pack, I run the District Scout Shop, with the able assistance of my dedicated volunteers.

In Real Life I am a manager in the Technology Team of an Employee Benefits firm in Central London

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls