LAWRENCE Dring, who was one of the founders of the Baden Powell Scouts’ Association set up after the original Scout Movement dropped its traditional ways, has died – aged 81.
He was the last survivor of the four founders of the association (BPSA) in 1970, which they set up because they did not agree with changes made at the time by the original Scout Movement established by Robert Baden Powell in 1907.
One of the characteristics of the BPSA is continuing to wear the traditional khaki uniform of Baden Powell’s day.
Mr Dring, who was known to everyone including the Scouts as Bob, was one of the driving forces behind the worldwide success of the organisation, which has about 4,000 members nationally and many thousands overseas.
He was born on Dundee railway station, one of twin sons, while his mother was trying to return to her home city of Leeds so they could be born as Yorkshiremen. Although she did not manage that, their births were registered in Leeds where their father, who was from Scotland, worked as an Army recruiting officer.
Mr Dring’s brother was killed in a car accident as an adult and, after the death of his parents, he did not have any relatives and the Scouts became his family. He lived with his mother at Wortley, Leeds, for many years but after she died he moved to East Ardsley and later Stanley, near Wakefield.
After leaving school he worked for Fisons Chemicals until being headhunted in 1973 by Allied Colloids, at Low Moor, Bradford, where he worked as a chemical buyer travelling all over the world until his retirement at the age of 60.
He also had his own company, Dring Associates, which was involved with the disposal of hazardous waste.
During his National Service he served with the Gordon Highlanders in Korea, but it was while he was in Germany that he was introduced to the Scout Movement when asked to help with a local group.
When he moved to Leeds he became involved in the 22nd North West Troop, rising through the ranks to hold a number of positions. But when the Scout Movement chose to modernise following a report in 1966 he eventually left and formed the BPSA.
Mr Dring started the 1st Yorkshire BP Scout Group which was originally affiliated to St Peter’s Church in Stanley, near Wakefield after the then vicar asked him to set up a group and of which he was president when he died.
He was originally the Area Commissioner, becoming national chairman in the early 1980s. In 1992 he became national president and then Chief Commissioner in 2008.
As the association grew, and after the World Federation of Independent Scouts was established in the early 1990s, he became International Commissioner.
He held that position along with national office, until he died having continued to be active in the association until he became ill about three months ago.
He was known and respected worldwide and tributes have been received by the BPSA from members in many countries
Mr Dring never married.