Lionel Cohen

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Cohen Lionel.jpg

1/6/1914 – 3/4/2015

Born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, Lionel moved to Cape Town with his family when he was a few months old. He has lived in Cape Town all his life and made significant contributions to many aspects of South African life and the Cape Town community in particular.

Lionel turned 100 on the 1 June 2014 and was a member of the Scout movement from 13 years of age having received the 70 year Bar to his Long Service Award in 1997, making today a total of 87 years.

He was Scoutmaster of the 10th Green and Sea Point troop and during much of the 1970's Chief Judge for the Gordon's Shield. His was a life long dedication to Scouting in the Western Cape and he gave service beyond the terms of his appointment giving distinguished service over a long period as Assistant Divisional Commissioner - (Special Duties).

As a professional man he has always been ready to place his advice and experience at the disposal of the Movement and his services as a member of the Divisional Property Committee were invaluable.

For his services to Scouting he was awarded:-

  • 1979 Order of the Silver Protea
  • 1979 70 year Bar to the Long Service Medal
  • 1973 Bar to the Medal of Merit
  • 1957 Medal of Merit
  • 1957 Long Service Medal

At his 100th birthday celebration a Scouting colleague of his, Abel Levitt gave the following speech:-

I couldn’t have imagined when as an 11 year old, and I was standing in the Scout Guard of Honour at the wedding of Lionel Cohen, Panther as he was known in the Scouts and the lovely Joan Shaper, that as a relatively old man I would be standing here today, celebrating his 100th birthday.

And Panther, I am giving you a 10th Green and Sea Point scarf, made and embroidered for this occasion….

The significance of the Scout scarf is because when you, and in later years I, invested young boys into this great movement and you have served your whole life, they made a promise and were given a scarf.

That promise that you, and millions of other around the world made, and still make was brief.

“I promise to do my best, to do my duty to God, and my country, to help other people at all times, and To obey the Scout Law”

For us the Law became very real, because we saw in you, dear Lionel the embodiment of that Law. You were somebody that we all looked up to and look up to today because you represent to us the best in a human being.

The Scout Promise does not hold you to “Keeping the Scout Law”. That would be too much to expect, it demands of one that he “Does his Best” to Keep the Law, and your best, my dear friend and mentor, set the bar at a very high level.

Scout Heritage Centre 2015
Ack: SACS Old Boys' Union webpage and Cape Jewish Chronicle July 2014