By: Blonde Two

When you know somebody as well as Blonde One and I know each other, it can be pretty difficult to plan surprises. This year at Ten Tors camp, I did manage to spring a rather good one on Blonde One and Mr Welsh.

Every year on Ten Tors Saturday evening, there is a managers’ meeting. The army say stuff, people ask questions, there is usually some jollity and there are long service awards. Some years ago, Blonde One told me that if I ever nominated her for such an award, she would divorce me as a friend. I must have sensed that she had changed her mind about this, because this year I decided that it was about time I nominated Mr Welsh for his Bronze Service Medal (ten years) and Blonde One for her Silver Service Medal (fifteen years). I didn’t tell either of them what I had done.

I was almost beside myself with excitement by the time of the meeting because the words, ‘Not getting an award.’ and ‘Maybe next year.’ had been uttered in slightly fed-up tones more than once during the weekend. I had just about managed not to give anything away, but it had been tricky, especially when at one point, missing the meeting was suggested (there was a very valid reason).

I insisted on attending, told them we had to go early because I needed the loo and made sure that we had some good seats. Both of their faces were a picture when their names were announced, and I think we will all admit to a few tears.

It is hard to explain to someone who hasn’t done it, the level of commitment that Ten Tors training requires from its leaders. It is physically hard work, requires days and days away from family and it is an enormous (and often straining) responsibility overseeing youngsters on Dartmoor (which can be a dangerous environment). I know that both Mr Welsh and Blonde One do it because they care deeply for our youngsters and because they know the value of such challenges.

I also know that fifteen years and ten years are a very long time!

So well done Mr Welsh and well done Blonde One. You absolutely deserve your medals and don’t stop just yet; I like working with you both too much!