Fred had worked at Scout National HQ since 1966 and really was Mr Scouting. He devoted his life to an organisation that made a huge difference to hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. This was no 40 hour a week job for Fred, but a lifetime of service.
As the National Secretary for around four decades, Fred was the glue which kept Scouting running. Chief Executives came and went, and Fred remained making things happen. He got to do some of the fun stuff such as helping run Jamborees and being duty warden at the Scout Ski Lodge on Ruapehu, but also deal with the very nasty stuff around Leaders who abused youth in their care. They were a very small minority of leaders, yet still did so much damage. Whatever the job, Fred would handle it.
On a personal level, Fred was a wonderful and selfless person. From around 1990 to 1996 I was very involved with Scouting, holding roles at section, group, area and national levels (and even attended a World Scout Conference as a NZ Youth representative) and got to know Fred pretty well. Even in my post Scouting life, I saw a fair bit of him as Scout HQ moved into WIllbank House a few floors below National Party HQ. It is incredibly sad to think of him as having left us, as he only turned 65 late last year. Cancer though is still the one with no cure.
Fred’s funeral will be St Peter’s on Willis Street, Wellington starting 11 am 2 pm on Tuesday 20 May 2008. I’ll certainly be there to mourn a man who gave so much to helping others. And somewhere in a box is my old Scout scarf which I’ll wear on the day as a mark of respect.