Meet Our Team

We have over 1,000 adult volunteers within our County, making Scouting possible for over 4,000 young people between 6 – 25 every day! Below are our County team who are responsible for Scouting within Somerset.
Elizabeth Henderson
County Commissioner

My Scouting began in 1985, when I joined a Venture Scout Unit in Greater London North, with my friends from Guides.

The opportunities, challenges and adventure that we experienced meant that I found myself, five years later, parading at Windsor as the 4th Southgate’s first female Queen’s Scout. I was also invited to a national presentation ceremony which was held at the Castle Hotel in Taunton. Little did I know then that my life’s journey would eventually bring me to live in Somerset and that my Scouting ‘career’ would include being appointed as the County Commissioner. Since 1988 I have held appointments in every section except for Cubs, but most of my time has been with the Scout or Explorer Scout section. I regularly deliver adult and Young Leader training and have enjoyed my roles with the County Programme Team over the last 9 years.

I work full time as a Consultant Speech & Language Therapist and manage a team of Therapists in a special needs school in Bath.

Janet Hall
Deputy County Commissioner - People

Hello, I’m Janet – your County Training Manager and Deputy County Commissioner (Adult Support). I have been connected with Scouting and Guiding since 1956, so consequently I have a wide experience of Scouting in a variety of roles from ACSL through to Deputy County Commissioner. I have also worked professionally for 13 years as a Field Commissioner. and then Field Development Officer for Scout HQ in the Counties of Avon, Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. I have wide experience in mentoring, coaching and conflict resolution and I have specialised in developing, delivering and managing training.

I have a passion for Scouting and how it changes young lives forever. I also have a passion for music of all types, both listening and playing. I am an explorer at heart and long to visit new places worldwide. Although I no longer have a role with Young People I do enjoy sharing Scouting Skills with my 5 Grandchildren.

My aim is to see all adults fully trained and able to fulfil and enjoy their role. I believe training is all about helping adults to carry out their role better, and for those adults working with and guiding young people, delivering the highest quality programme they can

Tricia Sedgbeer
Deputy County Commissioner - Programme

My Scouting began in my home town of Minehead, when I joined Exmoor Venture Scouts Unit. Previously, I had been a member of the Guide movement, being both a Brownie, and Guide at Alcombe, achieving my Queen Guide Award, then a young leader with Timberscombe Brownies. Being a Venture Scout gave me the opportunities to gain my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, and my Queen Scout, making me the first person in West Somerset to hold all three Awards.

I went on to become the Venture leader, and to help with Dunster Cubs, before moving to Taunton in 1989. Since then, I have been a Group Scout leader, then the A.D.C. Scouts, then Deputy District Commissioner. I joined the Somerset County team in 2010, as A.C.C. Activities then A.C.C. Scouts in 2013, before becoming Deputy County Commissioner in 2017.

I am passionate about Scouting, and the opportunities, adventure, skills, and challenges, we all give to young people through delivering inspiring programmes.

Away from Scouting I love the great outdoors, exploring new places, and activities. Walking especially Letterboxing on Dartmoor, photography, and going to the theatre.

 

Matt Ellett
Deputy County Commissioner - Perception

I am a ‘born and bred’ Scouter. Involved since Beavers and have progressed through all the sections to adult leadership. During my time in Scouting, I have been a leader with Cubs, Scouts and my current role as Assistant County Commissioner – Communications.

My aim is to see successful communication platforms used across Somerset seizing the opportunities digital technology offers us to share and debate our ideas, communicate and make volunteering easier.

It is an inescapable fact that we live in a digital world. That’s why we need to aim collectively to embrace technology using Compass, Online Scout Manager, websites and social media platforms to make scouting easier, more efficient and less time-consuming.

Professionally I work as a Territory Sales Manager for Diversey providing cleaning and hygiene solutions to customers in the hospitality, healthcare, food and beverage, food service, retail and facility management sectors.

Tony Dyson
Assistant County Commissioner (Activities)

Sharon Parkman
Assistant County Commissioner (Growth and Development)

I used to be a Brownie, Guide and a Venture Scout. I achieved my Queen’s Guide Award in 1982, before becoming a Venture Scout Leader and then a Cub Scout Leader. One of my highlights was being a Guard of honour when the Queen came to visit Bristol. I represented Somerset on the International Service Team at the World Scout Jamboree in Sweden 2011 and have volunteered at several international jamborees including WINGS 2014. I have made lots of friends all over the world from these experiences and met Bear Grylls. Professionally I work in an international boarding school and in my spare time I love travelling and photography.

John Lewis
Assistant County Commissioner (Support)
Rob Cash
County Media Manager

I joined the Scouting movement when I was a beaver and have progressed through all the sections into a leader role. During my time in Scouting I have been a leader with Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts and my current role is Somerset County Media Manager.

I have a few highlights I can reflect on during my time within scouting. I achieved the Queen Scout award and met the Queen during the national parade at Windsor. I have been involved in International events within the UK in both Essex and Kent. I was also very lucky to be selected to take 36 young people to Japan in 2015 for the 23rd World Scout Jamboree.

One of my key roles within the World Scout Jamboree unit was Media and Communications. I have taken part in Media training days and was responsible for sharing the story of our journey before, during and after Japan. The feedback was great and I really enjoyed capturing the fun, challenge and adventure the young people had. This led me to take the County Media role where I can continue using the skills I learnt, to share the great things we do in Somerset.

Outside of Scouting I run my own business selling German manufactured kitchens and I am based in Bristol.

Sean Ellett
Assistant County Commissioner (Programme)

I used to be a Cub and a Scout in the 1970’s with East Taunton, and have since held a number of leadership roles including Assistant Beaver Leader, Cub Leader and Group Scout Leader.

I believe Scouting should be fun, adventurous, where young people can learn in a safe but challenging environment. From Camping, Hiking, Climbing and abseiling to name a few, each Young Person can gain in confidence, character and self-esteem.

Outside of Scouting I am a Territory Sales Manager with Diversey and have been with the Company since 1998 since starting with the company as an engineer.

Jean Brunning
Assistant County Commissioner (International)

I joined Scouting when my eldest son joined Cubs and went from offering to help occasionally to being Akela in less than 2 weeks! That was over 20 years ago and since then I’ve been a leader across all sections and a Group Scout Leader and I am currently an Explorer Scout leader in East Somerset.

I got the international travel bug from being in the Guides when I was lucky enough to be one of the rare UK Guides to go abroad to the USA aged 14 and have traveled extensively with my family and Scouting from then on. Through the Scout Association I have been lucky enough to attend a European Jamboree (UK), 2 World Jamborees (Sweden and Japan) and World Scout MOOT (Iceland) all as part of the International Service Team (IST). I am also planning on going to MOOT 2022 (Ireland) also as part of the UK IST. in 2021, I am leading the Somerset unit heading to Poland for the European Jamboree, this time taking a role focusing on enabling the Scouts to attend the EJ and learn just how much fun international events can be, hopefully they will get the travel bug too. I’ve also been lucky enough to travel abroad to other camps and to visit scouting friends made via these international events going both to Hong Kong and Finland in recent years for this purpose – who says adults in Scouting can’t have fun?

 

Away from Scouting and my day job as Consultant Town Planner, I do manage to spend a lot of time in my garden and love growing vegetables and I enjoy many different craft activities. I  have also just started experimenting in furniture restoration ready for my retirement projects one day.

Abi Dare
County Youth Commissioner

Hi, I’m Abi and I’m the new County Youth Commissioner. I have been involved in Scouting for over nine years now and I am excited to take on the new role. I look forward to meeting young people to discuss Scouting and Youth Shaping.

I want to meet as many young people as possible before and during the event to gain their fresh perspective on what they believe ‘Youth Shaping’ is about. I applied for this role through my love of Scouting. I wanted to be able to take a bigger responsibility for involving young people in the camp. I have worked with different sections at some point in my Scouting career and I wanted to make sure that each section has something that is appropriate to their age there.

James Howarth
Deputy County Youth Commissioner
Andrew Sedgbeer
Quartermaster

Adrian Ashford
Chairman

My name of Adrian – Chairman of the Somerset Scouts Executive Committee, the County trustees. Scouting has been a major part of my life from Cubs at the age of 8. My adult roles have included;- Cub Scout Leader, Group Scout Leader and Group Chairman.

My employment is engineering based, now managing the timely delivery of high volumes of orders for a range of Broadband Suppliers.

In recent years, my time away from work has been filled converting an Old Stone Barn into two Holiday Cottages which I now manage, I also manage a small farm and I am currently developing an Events Toilets and specialist toilet servicing business for ‘Glam’ Campers.

These projects have given me a great insight into Property management and compliance with a wide range of rules and regulations whilst delivering exceptional customer service.

My vision for Somerset Scouts is to promote interesting programmes and activities whilst protecting those adults, who provide them, and the young people who participate in them; ensuring compliance with all the rules and regulations impacting them, especially POR and those of the Charity Commission. Clarifying myths around activity rules and insurance, and encouraging young people to take an active role in the decision making at all levels.

Marian Scott
Secretary

I became involved in Scouting in the early 1960’s as a Cub Instructor. Over the years the Cub Section has been my favourite; holding a variety of roles from Cub Instructor up to ACC Cubs. During this time the Wolf Cubs became Cub Scouts so every Section had ‘Scouts’ in their title.

After 10 years as DC I moved to a supportive and admin mode. Less time spent with young people and more in supporting adults with their appointment and training. Currently I am ADC General Duties and it is interesting how many ‘jobs/tasks’ that title seems to cover. I produce the monthly District Newsletter, help prepare the Annual Report, oversee the census and so on. District Administrator role means dealing with DBS, inputting info onto Compass and the County database. Training up Group Administrators to do the DBS role for their Group has been most useful – less work for me!

I believe in what Scouting can offer both to young people and adults. As long as everyone has fun and enjoyment in what they undertake the future of Scouting in Blackdown District is ensured.

Neil Truby
Treasurer
Alan Henderson
Deputy County Training Manager & Local Training Manager

I’m Alan and I currently have a number of roles within the County to do with Training.

As Deputy County Training Manager, I am responsible for the quality and extent of adult training across the County. My responsibilities include being a Course Director, Presenter and also a Trainer for Management Training.

As a Local Training Manager , responsible for “Areas Orange & Red” which are large parts of East Somerset District, I support the DC Team, GSLs and a number of Training Advisers. I and am also an active Training Adviser.  I also support County events as part of the Programme Team and Media Team.

I am now “retired” from fee paying employment which for many years involved training, change management and more recently risk and compliance as an internal risk auditor within Lloyds Banking Group. In any spare time that I have, I like listening to music, playing golf, pottering in the garden or at our field or getting away to new or previously enjoyed places.

As a “career scout” from my time as a Cub, my proudest moment was being part of the Cenotaph Guard of Honour on Remembrance Day when I was a Queen’s Scout in North London. Representing the movement at such a highly prestigious event was a great thrill and honour.

Fiona Bayles
Local Training Manager
Dawn Wilson
District Commissioner - Moors and Coastal

I began scouting when looking for volunteer service opportunities in my local village for my DofE Bronze award and was lucky enough to start working with my local cub pack, I am pleased to say the habit stuck as my volunteering was easy and fun and eventually I took on the Akela role under the watchful eye of my GSL.

Since then I have had many adventures – I easily found myself getting involved with the activity teams and discovering a passion for walking and caving and helping at county events. It was an easy progression to Scout Leader and an opportunity to lead at the World Scout Jamboree in Chile. For some while I was part of the county executive and supported my district team with the scout programme and being one of the early nights away advisors.

Each year I was lucky enough to lead a sub camp team at the county scout jamboree which gave me a wonderful opportunity to meet and work with patrols and leaders from all over the county. Since 2014 I have been part of the DC team in East Somerset as well as continuing to work weekly with my Scout troop. I now have the exciting challenge of being the DC in Moors & Coastal and am looking forward to working and supporting groups in my home Scout district to grow and thrive.

Scouting has given me many truly amazing moments (both good and bad!), tears of laughter and joy, my scouting friendships long lasting and strong enough to keep me going through the darkest of times. Could I see myself ever not being a Scouter– No never, why would I not want to have moments of madness and a wonderful excuses to stay young and share adventures with my friends and scouts?

Phil Changeur
Deputy District Commissioner - Moors and Coastal

My Scouting life started at a young age when I joined Cleeve, Claverham and Yatton Scout Group, in the Gordano District during the late 1980’s, where I was a Beaver Scout. After progressing through Beavers, Cubs and Scouts I became involved in Venture Scouting, which is where I gained my enthusiasm for Hiking and Expeditions.

In 2009 I started working in Burnham on Sea and became involved in local life. During 2012 I became an Occasional Helper with the Cubs section at 1st Berrow, progressing to Assistant Cub Scout Leader.

2013 saw my move to the Explorer Unit within Moors and Coastal District. Here, I was able to put my skill set to better use with the members of the older sections by introducing and developing their map skills, hike experience and introducing many of them for the first time to expedition camping. Along with many other skills I had learned from my Scouting.

During this time, I had also been involved with launching and revamping the Young Leader Programme within the District. I developed into the role of District Explorer Scout Commissioner, this position works well alongside the Young Leader Leader and allows me to ensure those who wish to step up become a Young Leader are identified and assisted to do so.

In early 2017 I attended T1 Hill Walking Training where I successfully gained my permit. Since then, I have become a Duke of Edinburgh Leader and started supporting the Duke of Edinburgh scheme in Moors and Coastal District; by being an Expedition Supervisor where my skills help guide and support those young people that are completing the expedition section of the award.

During 2019 I saw an opportunity to help develop and widen the Somerset County Scout Ten Tors Teams, this is where Young People successfully take up and complete the rigorous Ten Tors Challenge across Dartmoor.

Like many during the COVID-19 pandemic I have developed my skill set, making me part of the District Team enabling and approving the Safe Return to Scouting. Many groups across the District needed help and support in areas such as Risk Assessment, and Checklists etc.

I believe that by taking up the role of Deputy District Commissioner I will be able to support an even greater number of leaders who are working directly with Young People and are providing high quality Scouting. I see this as an opportunity to continue the growth and development of superb scouting across the District recognising our outstanding leaders.

Outside of Scouting I am a self-employed IT Consultant. With the impact that COVID-19 has had on scouting in the past 12 months my skills in this area have proved to be invaluable where I have been supporting groups to develop new and exciting ways to scout online.

Pam Gaines
District Commissioner - Blackdown

My involvement with Scouting started when my elder son joined Beavers in 1994. It did not seem long before I changed from being an Occasional Helper to Beaver Leader.

After that I became a Group Scout Leader regularly supporting the leader team with Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. Following my support of Young Leaders, I was appointed DESC before taking my current role as District Commissioner.

Paul Bentley
District Commissioner - East Somerset

I first began Scouting in 2005 when I was volunteered to be Chair for our local Scout Group.

My Children both became members as Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and one an Explorer and Young Leader. Also my Wife became involved as Treasurer and then with Beavers and is currently a Cub Leader.Subsequently I have held roles at District Level as well as Locally as Section assistants for both Scouts and Explorers. Having been Assistant District Commissioner (ADC) Communications for a number of years, I am now ready for the challenge of joining the DC team in East Somerset.

Heather Pitts
District Commissioner (Camelot area)

I have held an adult appointment in Scouting since I was 18 years old and have worked my way through all sections before deciding that the Beavers was where my heart lies, when I opened my first Colony 19 years ago.

My family moved to Somerset, from North London, in 2002 & I joined a local Colony as Beaver Scout Leader. In 2010 I became ADC Beavers & have enjoyed the constant challenge of supporting the District Team, Leaders & Beavers throughout the ever changing movement that is East Somerset.

Having been a School Nurse in a Special Needs School for the past 11 years I have recently looked for a new challenge in my working life & I am now privileged to be a member of the Nursing Team at Children’s Hospice South West. I hope this new role as Deputy District Commissioner will enable me to provide relevant support throughout the southern area of our district.

David Frowde
District Commissioner (Avalon area)

I started my Scouting as a Cub here in Somerset before moving across the border to Wiltshire where I went on to join Scouts and Venture Scouts.  I then took a break from Scouting whilst I started my Career in Retail Design but was always involved in Youth activities helping my Mum with her various Girl Guide Events.

It was not until I moved to London that my Adult Scouting started when I was asked to become a leader in a newly formed unit in Leatherhead, Surrey.  A change in jobs though meant I had to leave the area and move back to Somerset where I joined 5th Frome Scouts as an Assistant Leader.  It was here that I learnt most of what I know about Scouting and also met my Wife who was the Beaver Leader at the time.

Eventually I wanted a new challenge and I became the Assistant Leader at Edor Explorers.  It was during my time with them that I was lucky enough to be selected to go to the 2007 World Scout Jamboree as one of the Counties Leaders and got to meet Scouts from all over the world.

Eventually my job changed paths again and I no longer could commit to a weekly evening and I accepted the position County Shooting Advisor.  Target shooting is a sport I have enjoyed for many years and after attending training courses locally in Avon Scouts, I set up the Frome Scout Rifle Club.  Along with other adult coaches we had Scouts from the Club go on to represent both the County and their Country in shooting.

Before becoming part of the DC Team, I was recently the District Explorer Scout Commissioner for Avalon where I hope I was able to use all the Scouting knowledge I have leant over the years to help other Leaders, to offer great programmes for the young adults and gave them the skills they need in Life.

 

Christopher Harper
County Adviser - Duke of Edinburgh's Award
Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls