by Melvyn Gallagher
When Britain last hosted the Olympic Games in 1948, due to post-war austerity everything was done on a shoestring. Most athletes provided their own kit and sewed on their national badges, no sponsorship deals then!
The Boy Scouts were seen on the film of the modest Opening Ceremony carrying national flags and releasing doves. During the games they helped out with the scoring and with other tasks, sadly those innocent amateur days are long gone, as too has the role of Scouting in the Games to any extent. Sport has always been an important Scouting activity, fulfilling the physical training roles as seen on many Scout and Guide stamps that I have written about before.
The first stamps to picture a Scout was from the Hungarian sports set of 1925, the other stamps illustrating athletics, skiing, ice skating, diving, fencing, football and hurdles, all popular Olympic events today. Later on in 1938 Lithuania issued four stamps for their National Olympiad overprinted to honour both Scouts and Guides.
The set of thirteen sports and youth activities stamps issued by Nicaragua in 1949 were sold to raise funds to build a national stadium, the 2c stamp pictured a Scout and flag.
I wonder how much would have been raised if the Royal Mail had sold similar stamps today?
I have just received news that HRH The Duchess of Cambridge is going to volunteer to assist with the training of Cub Scouts and Beaver Scouts in Wales, which is splendid news that will provide Scouting with much needed publicity.
I am sure that like the rest of us, HRH will be asked to complete a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check and OH (Occasional Helper) form and complete any training required before she is allowed to work with young people!
Does her new role also mean that the recent stamps depicting her wedding will now be considered as Scout stamps??