Wally Struthers

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Struthers Wally.jpg

1/6/1909 - 2/5/2013

Wally Struthers a Scouter of Note, passed away at age 103. He was born on the 1st June 1909 in Hackney, England.

After immigrating to South Africa and settling in Cape Town he joined the 1st Observatory Scout Troop in June 1925. It's hard to believe, but at that time there were 5 Scout Troops in Observatory.

Wally was a keen Scout and earned many Interest Badges like Cyclist, Cooks, Swimmer and some whose names that today might sound odd like Public Healthyman and Ambulance.

He also progressed 'through the ranks' becoming a Patrol Leader and went on to earn the highest advancement badge by becoming a King Scout in 1928.

These skills were put to good use when he was included in the team that participated in the 1927 &1928 Gordon's Shield competitions.

The next step was then becoming a Rover Scout, but he still helped with the Troop being appointed an 'Instructor'.

As a Rover Wally attended the very first Indaba held at Pietermaritzburg over Easter 1931 and two years later he became a Rover Second. In 1934 he attended the second SARSI (SA Rover Scout Indaba) in Glencain and in 1935 became 1st Observatory's Rover Scout Leader. He also attended the first South African Jamboree in East London in 1936.

Wally also recalled in 1953 attending the 6th SARSI in the Matopo Hills near Bulawayo in the then Southern Rhodesia where they walked to Cecil Rhodes grave.

He obtained an Assistant Cub Master's warrant and from the pack logbook there was much fun and games including hikes on Devil's Peak. The next warrant was that of Assistant Scout Master, the course being held at 'Gilcape' Plumstead by Carl Rayner.

In days gone by Groups had Trek Carts and 1st Observatory would load up their trek cart and travel over Constantia Nek to Hout Bay and then on to camp at Kommetjie.

Wally's other love was the mountains of the Cape and was a life member of the Scout Mountain Club (SMC) and Mountain Club of SA (MCSA). He had survived all his good mountaineering buddies.

Folk in the MCSA referred affectionately to him as “Uncle Wally”, and he was always an outstanding example of the positive outlook on life. Whenever asked how he was, his reply was the same, “No complaints, life is good to me”, and said with a genuine smile. At his 100th Birthday celebration at the MCSA when most people need spectacles that look like the bottom of beer bottles, Wally almost managed to read his speech of thanks for his MCSA long service award unaided by glasses. Only the fine print fooled him!

Wally was a hard working participant in TM hut work meets, and Circular folds at the clubhouse. As he aged, his set his mountain climbing sights lower, but continued actively, so going from regular trips up TM, to regular trips up Lion’s Head, to regular trips around Kirstenbosch. Part of his legacy to mountaineering is that he built up water pools and sheltered caves on the mountain in various places, which are named after him, as is one of the paths on Lion’s Head. Wally featured in Newspaper articles showing how good exercise is for you every Decade he passed another old age milestone.

We all think fondly of good old Wally.

Compiled by the Scout Heritage Team & Mike Scott of the MCSA 2013