Esmond "Fatty" Rutter

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1912 - 1993

Esmond 'Fatty' Rutter .jpg

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have known Fatty Rutter both as a personal friend and as a long-time colleague in Scouting. During one's life one meets rare personalities who enrich one's existence and whose passing diminishes us all. Fatty was such a one. A true and loyal Scout, who for 60 years throughout the whole of his adult life served the youth of the community through Scouting; family man; staunch churchman; sportsman; leader and manager - Fatty was them all and to each he brought wholehearted commitment, enthusiasm and energy.

Fatty joined the Movement as a Cub in 1920. As a Scout he attended the Coming-of-Age World Scout Jamboree at Arrowe Park, England, in 1929 (his Group, the 2nd Green & Sea Point, has the proud record of being the only Scout Group in South Africa that has had representatives at every World Jamboree since the first). Subsequently he gave distinguished service as an Assistant Scoutmaster; Scoutmaster; Assistant District Commissioner; District Commissioner of CW 1 & 2; Assistant Divisional Commissioner, Scouts; Deputy Div Commissioner; Assistant Area Commissioner; Member of the Training Team; Training Adviser to the Southern Zone of the Africa Region, and until recently he was Chairman of the Area Finance Committee. He himself would probably have claimed that his most important contribution to Scouting was his 17 years as an outstanding Scoutmaster of the 2nd Green & Sea Point Troop. His exceptionally distinguished services were recognised by the award to him in 1982 of the Order of the Silver Springbok.

He was big not only physically, but in personality and character as well. It is his personal qualities that we shall best remember about Fatty - his unflappability (in modern parlance his "cool") under pressure; his down-to-earth common sense; his loyalty; his strong leadership qualities; his high personal standards; and the example he set. Stories and legends about his "cool" abound. Let one example from my personal experience suffice here. Some years ago when Fatty was District Commissioner of CW 1 & 2, a group of Scouts were being tested for the old Venturer Badge on the rocks at Sea Point. The sea was dead calm and the Scouts were in knee-deep water lighting fires on small rafts they had built. out of nowhere a huge wave suddenly poured in leading to a mad scramble for safety. One Scout, less alert than the rest, was being swept down the gully out to sea when Fatty plunged in up to his waist in white water; grabbed the Scout by the collar as he went past; threw him up on to the dry rocks; and then coolly remarked to the shaken Scout - "Hey, I told you to light a fire on the raft, not to go swimming!" As if nothing untoward had happened, the testing continued.

Fatty was a man of deep religious convictions and he made substantial contributions to, and laid emphasis on, the spiritual dimension in Scouting. How many contributions to National Scouting publications bear witness to this.

We are grateful to having known and loved him, and are the poorer for his passing. To his wife, Jicks, Jeffrey and Cynthia and their families we extend our deepest condolences. We shall remember him.

Colin J Inglis
International Commissioner
Cape western Scouter, December 1993