A local scout group is celebrating the opening of a new campsite facility.
Blyth Valley Scout District have a new pavilion at Selby Wood Scout Campsite in Stanton just outside of Morpeth.
And it has been funded through a £50,000 donation from Cramlington-based MSD (Merck Sharp and Dohme).
The shelter is a wooden structure that has been built to allow younger members to have indoor accommodation in the event of adverse weather conditions.
The venue will also be used for training courses, meetings, plus larger camps and events.
The building has been named The Lineker Pavilion, in memory of Phil Lineker, who was a long supporter of scouting in Blyth Valley, and in his role of district chairman was instrumental in securing the grant.
The pavilion has been specifically designed for scout groups and young people with full toilet facilities, a food preparation area, lighting, first aid room and a large spacious hall perfect for dining, activities and games.
Selby Wood Scout Campsite opened in the summer of 2004 providing traditional ‘back to basics’ camping to allow young people to get outdoors, learn new skills, traditional camping techniques and take part in adventure.
The campsite is owned and managed by Blyth Valley Scout District and has been developed with the kind permission of landowners Shirley and Bob Potts.
The building was officially opened on Saturday by Professor Sir Alan Craft, chairman of the Scout Association and president of Northumberland Scouts, and he used Phil’s scout knife to cut the ribbon.
Also in attendance was the mayor of Blyth Olga Potts along with Phil’s wife, daughter and sister to mark the occasion.
This is the next stage in support that Blyth Valley Scout District has received from MSD after the company had previously donated £3,600 along with allowing MSD volunteers to spend 450-man hours to help work on the project in 2013.
The MSD employee volunteers spent a number of days at the campsite completing a range of maintenance tasks such as painting, building a new fence across the campsite, refitting of toilet facilities, clearing out drinking troughs, erecting fencing and much more.
Neal Armiger, district commissioner for Blyth Valley, said: “It’s fantastic that such a big company is able to support us in providing adventure and challenge to young people.
“The Linker Pavilion will be a fantastic asset for the campsite and won’t just benefit our members today but also the hundreds of young people who will use it in the future.”
Sir Alan said: “This is a wonderful example of scouts working in partnership with a local farmer and a multi-national company with a factory in Cramlington.
“The farmer has loaned the land and MSD through their US-based charitable trust gave a grant of $50,000.
“All was driven through by Phil Lineker, a local scout leader who unfortunately died before the new pavilion could be opened.
“It will provide a focus for scouting and wonderful opportunities for young people, some of whom have never been in the countryside.”
Martin Inskip, senior director of operations at MSD Cramlington added: “We are delighted that MSD was able to obtain this grant for the Blyth Valley Scouts and our volunteers have not only worked hard during their time at Selby Woods, they have gained valuable skills partnering with the scout leaders to improve the Selby campsite for young people from the north east of England.
“It is MSD’s philosophy to give back to the community in which we operate and I believe the MSD Cramlington site lives that philosophy.
“I spent one day at the site and it was very good to see the progress made by the staff.
“The workgroups and the money provided by MSD have made a significant difference in furnishing a facility that will provide benefit to the scouts and our local community long into the future.”