A re-launched Hornchurch school’s scout group has been supported by TV presenter Bear Grylls

A Hornchurch school’s scout group has been praised by TV presenter and adventurer Bear Grylls.

The group 1st Harrow Lodge is based at The Albany School and has been re-launched because of a demand for more youth activities in the area.

The group, which is open to boys and girls aged 10 to 14 and meets on Monday nights, was originally founded five years ago. The school said following some leadership changes it has been re-launched with “great success” and is the only group operating in this way in London and the south east.

It is being led by The Albany’s associate assistant headteacher Dean Jefferys and a team of former pupils who volunteer each week to provide activities, and residential camps and expeditions.

Over half term the group will be going to north Yorkshire and will be staying at a disused railway station on the coast owned by UK Scouting, where they will hike along the disused railway lines. The group have also taken part in a sailing and canoeing challenge in London’s Docklands.

Mr Jefferys, who is also The Scout Association’s Commissioner for Greater London, said the group was unique because the school provided a meeting place and facilities for free, and unlike other groups, it is officially part of the school curriculum provision.

He added: “I have been thrilled by the number of young people who turn up each week, literally off the street, and by the dedication of our volunteer leader team.

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“This group is fairly unique in the UK in the way that it is structured and by the large number of ex-students who continue to volunteer to assist. It says a lot about this school and the lasting legacy we leave.”

Chief scout and TV adventurer Bear Grylls said he supported the group and their work.

He added: “This group typifies for me scouting’s place in the community. Young people in Hornchurch deserve the same type of challenge and adventure that I experienced as a young person and now they’ve got it! I wish this exciting group all the best as it goes from strength to strength.”