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HomeNewsCub Scouts left ‘dodging traffic’ in pitch dark after getting lost map-reading

Cub Scouts left ‘dodging traffic’ in pitch dark after getting lost map-reading

Parents have blasted Scout leaders after dozens of terrified cubs as young as seven were left “dodging traffic” on a 40mph road unsupervised.

CCTV captured the children huddling together as they tried to find their way back from a map reading exercise in pitch darkness on Monday evening (October 2) and running across the road as cars thundered past at around 8pm.

The cubs were told to walk from their Scout hut in Lower Broadheath, Worcester, to Elgar’s Birthplace – just under a mile away.

Former police officer Simon Middleweek, 62, spotted the children and ran out to help.

He said: “It was horrendous. There was a group of 20 to 30 children attempting to navigate Crown East Lane.

“The road has no paths or lighting and it was night time. I’m surprised someone wasn’t killed.

“They were trying to dodge the traffic, in the rain and with no adults with them.

“I went out and used one of their radios to speak to someone and a few minutes later a girl came running down the road.

“These young kids have been put at risk. They have been let down by the people who should be looking after them. It was very irresponsible.

“The cubs had been given maps and told to make their way to Elgar’s birthplace but they got lost walking across a field and ended up on the road.

“My understanding is the parents had no idea this was going to take place and thought the cubs would be doing navigation work in a small enclosed paddock next to the scout hut.

“We have carried out lots of research on speeding on this road and we have 5,000 cars a day going up and down with 68 per cent of them speeding.

“It was a miracle none of the kids were killed.”

Jeremy Wilkinson, whose son, age 10, was on the hike, expected the children to be accompanied.

He said: “We weren’t told they would be on their own.

“We assumed there would have been leaders with each pack. I wanted to have been out there helping them.

“Some of the children are as young as seven and it’s a very fast road. They’ve made a massive error and there has been no explanation.”

Another parent said: “We haven’t received an apology, haven’t been invited to a meeting to discuss what happened and haven’t been told how things will be put right.

“A child could have been killed on that road.

“I’m horrified at what could have happened to our children, there wasn’t a leader in sight.

“Thank heavens for Simon – if he hadn’t noticed the children, anything could have happened.

“The only reason I know about it was my child being upset once he returned home, having been told off by the leaders for not using their radio and ‘messing around on the road’.

“Had an adult been present it wouldn’t have happened.

“I honestly think a child could have been killed on that fast road.”

But the Cub Scouts has defended the exercise.

A spokesperson said: “The event had been fully risk assessed and the Cubs had access to torches, high visibility jackets and direct radio contact to volunteer leaders who were waiting at the next meeting spot a short distance away.

“After a misunderstanding with a local resident the young people contacted the leaders and met up with them a short time later.

“The safety of young people in our care is our number one priority at Scouts and we can confirm parental consent and all risk assessments were in place for the activity ensuring the young people were safe and appropriately equipped throughout the session.”



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