A SCOUT section may be forced to close if prospective volunteers don’t step forward to save the day as its group leader deals with cancer.

11th Barry Sea Scout leader, Neil Murray was diagnosed with prostate cancer in August last year and will undergo surgery in January this year, followed by further courses of treatment.

The 45-year-old who leads the group based in Ilminster Court, said the section may have to close for a few months if not longer.

Mr Murray said: “As a group we currently have just three leaders.

“There's my wife Stephanie (fox) who runs the beaver section, Peter (akela) runs cubs and myself (hathi) an assistant cub leader and acting scout leader.

“We're supported by a handful of sectional assistants and a few parents who have stepped up to help when we have needed it.

“We also have several volunteers who sit on the executive committee.

“Their job is to look after our scout hall and help with fundraising and recruitment.

“Peter, who just celebrated his 65th birthday has been a leader with the group since 1975.

“He has been thinking about stepping down as akela for the last couple years, although thankfully he's talked himself out of it so far.

“Eventually he will do so and will leave us even more shorthanded.

“Over the last few years we have had a number of volunteers leave.

“Some due to ill health, some to do other things with their lives and most recently two got married to each other and moved away with work, which was very selfish of them.”

Records at Gilwell (headquarters) has the group registered on November 29, 1941.

The Glamorgan Archives have records that show the group was active around May 1, 1924 - making it 95 years old.

But a Standard presented to the group by the family of former scout, Sydney Copp, who was killed in action in September 1918, towards the end of World War One suggests the group existed in 1918 if not earlier.

But the group, using the 1924, could officially celebrate its centenary in 2024.

The group currently has 20 beavers; 19 cubs; and 15 scouts, but numbers are low due to a lack of adult volunteers.

Mr Murray said: “We have children waiting to start across all three sections, but we barely have enough volunteers to cover what we have now so can't start more members.

“We have emailed the parents and guardians of the potential members on the waiting list explaining this to them and asking if any of them would like to volunteer so that we can start more members including their child.

“No-one replied.

“We're faced with potentially having to close the scout section when I have my op for my cancer in January, as we just won't have the volunteers/leaders to keep all three sections open then.

“We really don't want to do this.

“Its a very hard decision to make.

“We urgently need more volunteers.

“They don't have be the next Bear Grylls, they don't have to have been a scout themselves.

“All they need is a willingness to give a go and get stuck in.

“They can help once in while, once a month, every week, whatever suits them.

“Scouting is not just for our children, it’s for us adults too.

“We get just as much from it as they do.

“I've made great friends for life, learnt loads of useful skills and done some fantastic thing, and throughout it all I have had a huge amount of fun.”

To find out more about volunteering with 11th Barry, email Bryan Foley on gsl@11thbarryscouts.org.uk; visit 11thbarryscouts.org.uk or facebook.com/11thbarryscouts