SCOUT Jay Thompson had the honour of meeting the Queen after he was part of the first Diamond Jubilee celebrations held in the world.
Jay, aged 19, of Port St Mary, has recently returned from Tuvalu in the South Pacific after 10 months there as one of two Scouting development ambassadors.
He met the Queen – while wearing a traditional South Pacific-style Sulu – as the Royal Commonwealth Society unveiled the Diamond Jubilee time capsule, a project telling the story of the past 60 years through an online collection of events and stories from across the Commonwealth.
Jay said: ‘Along with everyone else in the room I was nervous before I spoke to her because of who she is but as soon as we made eye contact I understood that she is, of course, human so what did I have to nervous about?
‘She was very polite and friendly and showed a great interest in everyone’s projects and memories.’
Jay, 1st Rushen Scout Group leader and a member of the Isle of Man Scout Network section for 18-25-year-olds said: ‘She seemed surprised I had lived out there for so long. She visited Tuvalu in the 80s and the Tuvaluans still all talk about it! She asked me what I had been doing in Tuvalu and what it was like to live there.’
The event entered for the time capsule was a Big Lunch feast organised by the Scouts, for Scouts, parents and members of the community. Due to the time zone the 100-plus people involved were the first people in the world to celebrate the jubilee.
His role in Tuvalu was to revive the Scouting movement after it had all but collapsed, and get young people doing fun challenging and adventurous activities again: ‘We worked with an already established national council (of around six adults) to recruit and train new leaders to run weekly Scout meetings.
‘After leaders had been trained we went to many community events, schools, and met with lots of children and parents to talk about Scouting and what it is to be a Scout. The leaders with our support started running weekly meetings on the international runway.’
Scouting has now spread to three islands and more than 150 youngsters are involved. Jay, who is now training to be a mental health nurse, said: ‘I will never forget my time in Tuvalu as it has been a massive part of forming who I am and how I see the world.
‘There were, of course, hard times as anyone will find if they spend a long time away from home but I will always look back with fond memories and keep in touch with great friends.’