Gone Home - Sir W Garth Morrison


It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Sir W Garth Morrison, KT, CBE, RN  Vice-President of The Scout Association and former Chief Scout went home earlier today.

After a brief illness, bravely borne, Sir Garth passed away in his sleep at home with his family. Garth was a truly lovely person, fine gentleman and great ambassador for Scouting. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Lady Gill and the rest of his family at this sad time.

Wayne Bulpitt
UK Chief Commissioner
24 May 2013

Sir William Garth Morrison

Many of the changes underpinning the growth of Scouting among young people and adult volunteers are largely due to the efforts of former Chief Scout William Garth Morrison, who died 24 May 2013.

One of his major aims during his tenure as Chief Scout (1988-96) was to tackle Scouting stereotypes and make it appealing to a diverse range of backgrounds. This was achieved by easing the uniform rules so youth members felt more relaxed about wearing it. 

He also spearheaded a more relaxed atmosphere with an emphasis on young people enjoying Scouting. 

For adult volunteers, he started the process of positive inductions and making it easier for volunteer leaders to access Headquarter services.

Fundraising success

Garth was heavily involved in the Promise Appeal which culminated in 1992 with fundraising activities involving Scout Groups across the Country. Part of this initiative was also aimed at the corporate sector to encourage grant making. The Appeal raised £2.5 million.  He also created the Chief Scout’s committee and moved committee of council meetings to be on weekends to enhance team working and communication.

Early life

Born 8 April 1943 in Edinburgh, he was educated at Pangbourne College, Britannia Royal Naval College, where he won the Queen’s Telescope and graduated from Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1966.  He then qualified as a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1973. 

Garth joined the Royal Navy in 1961 and retired as a Lieutenant.  After leaving the Navy he has been involved in farming in partnership with his family in East Lothian. He has also held numerous executive positions.

Awards and accomplishments

He was created Commander of the the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1994 for his work in the voluntary sector and served as Vice-President of The Scout Association from 1996 onwards. Garth was created Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle in 2007 (and was most touched to have been dubbed by the Queen on Thinking Day that year).

His Scouting appointments included area commissioner for East Lothian and chief commissioner of Scotland. He was awarded the Silver Wolf in 1982 and served as a member of the World Scout Committee from 1991 until 2001.

In 1987 he was Leader of the UK Contingent at the 16th World Jamboree in Australia.

Garth Morrison is survived by two sons, one daughter and his wife Gill.

Back to articles list

Most read