A dedicated Scout who has devoted his life to helping people around the world has retired following over 50 years of loyal service.

Michael Taylor, from Whitley Bay, said the Scouts has provided him with “fun and friendship for life”.

But now he believes it is time to step aside from the role of Scout Leader and Akela to make way for a new leader at the 21stWhitley Bay.

The 72-year-old said: “I may be old and wrinkled, but I can still abseil down the side of a building and go climbing. It’s been a fantastic life, but it’s time for me to pass on the baton now.”

Michael first joined scouting at East Denton Church of the Holy Spirit in 1958, aged 10, before transferring to Whitley Bay where he has served since 1965, at what is now known as the 21st Whitley Bay.

He was introduced to Scouting through his mum as her dad, Charles Ditchburn, also dedicated his life to Scouting following the First World War.

And since joining the Scouts as a young boy, Michael has continued to go above and beyond to help others, earning him a Silver Acorn award, which recognises fantastic service after at least 20 years.

Michael has supported Scouts and Scout Leaders around the world at events such as the Gilwell Reunion and World Jamboree.

Since 1990 Michael has supported a school in Uganda, where he has visited on numerous occasions to deliver programmes and teach scouting skills.

Michael has also worked with the Ugandan community in the town of Mityana to paint a local hospital, lay pavements and install electric cables in the school which his Scout group sponsor.

And in 2011 he abseiled down the side of a local hotel to raise funds to allow Ugandan Scouts to attend their Centenary Camp.

Throughout his service, thousands of young people have known Michael and he will be a great miss to current members.

However, he admitted “Once you’re a member of Scouts, you’re always a member of Scouts”, explaining that he will still help out at his group.

Following the news of Michael’s retirement, the Scouts currently have opportunities for a Scout Leader or Assistant Scout Leader, as well as other vacancies.

Anyone interested in applying should contact Claire Gauld via email on cgauld59@gmail.com.