A SUDDEN surge of interest in Scouting in the county is being put down to the Duchess of Cambridge.
The pregnant princess, who visited a Newby Bridge scout camp last month, has inspired a wave of adult volunteers to sign up to the movement, increasing the numbers by five per cent in South Lakeland alone.
The figures, released today, also reveal that the number of adult leaders has grown by four per cent across Cumbria as a whole.
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout, said: “It’s great that so many adults are joining the Scouts, and I am sure the increase has had much to do with the Duchess of Cambridge becoming a Scout volunteer last year.”
It is thought young members across the county are now at a 13-year high of 4,095. It is the first time the number has risen above 4,000 this century.
Total membership in the UK has increased over 20 per cent since 2005 to 536,787 this year.
Bear Grylls continued: “The Duchess is an incredible role model and she helps us show that Scouting’s not just for boys.
“She’s also such a generous volunteer and everyone is so excited to have her in the Scouting family.
“Many people have followed her lead and are getting involved and enjoying the adventure!”
The Duchess was a member of Brownies as a youngster and now volunteers regularly with Cub Scouts in North Wales.
She was five months pregnant when she spent a snowy day at Great Tower Scout Camp last month, learning how to make unleavened bread and light fires.
It is now hoped her involvement will inspire even more adults to get involved in the organisation, to help ease the waiting list of almost 38,000 youngsters wanting to join a group.
Annabel Lawrence, an adult volunteer in Cumbria, said: “I didn’t think I’d have the time to volunteer, but the Scouts make it really easy to volunteer around my other commitments – and they let me give as much or as little time as I’m able.”