Our District Team

Please find a list below of our District Team and Executive Committee. If you need any more information or would like to speak to a member of our team, feel free to contact us.
Pam Gaines
District Commissioner

My involvement with Scouting started when my elder son joined Beavers in 1994. It did not seem long before I changed from being an Occasional Helper to Beaver Leader.

After that I became a Group Scout Leader regularly supporting the leader team with Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. Following my support of Young Leaders, I was appointed DESC before taking my current role as District Commissioner.

Charlie Back MBE

After many years of service to the Scout Movement, I was surprised and privileged to be asked to be the President of Blackdown District.

It is good to know that Scouting is still in good form and is moving with the times…and has embraced the 21st Century. I may not now be on the forefront of working with youngsters but still appreciate seeing the way Scouting is progressing, and I thank all those who lead from the District and those who lead from the various sections.

From little acorns mighty oak trees grow (Lord Baden Powell)

Jacqui Hopkins
ADC Beavers
Sarah Milsted
ADC Cubs

I’ve been in Scouting since 2006 when I re-opened the Cub pack at the 25th Southampton Sea Scout Group. As well as the Cub pack I worked with the Scout troop and Beaver colony at various points.

I’m delighted to be back working with the Cub section where my role is to support the adults and young people in this section across the District.

Andy and I moved to Taunton in November 2018 where I work at a primary school. In my free time I’m enjoying exploring my new home county!

ADC Scouts
Marian Scott
ADC General Duties & District Administrator

I became involved in Scouting in the early 1960’s as a Cub Instructor. Over the years the Cub Section has been my favourite; holding a variety of roles from Cub Instructor up to ACC Cubs. During this time the Wolf Cubs became Cub Scouts so every Section had ‘Scouts’ in their title.

After 10 years as DC I moved to a supportive and admin mode. Less time spent with young people and more in supporting adults with their appointment and training. Currently I am ADC General Duties and it is interesting how many ‘jobs/tasks’ that title seems to cover. I produce the monthly District Newsletter, help prepare the Annual Report, oversee the census and so on. District Administrator role means dealing with DBS, inputting info onto Compass and the County database. Training up Group Administrators to do the DBS role for their Group has been most useful – less work for me!

I believe in what Scouting can offer both to young people and adults. As long as everyone has fun and enjoyment in what they undertake the future of Scouting in Blackdown District is ensured.

Andy Milsted
District Explorer Scout Commissioner & Manager Explorer Active Support

My first memories of Scouting go way back as a Cub, when I was a member of the Trull Scout Group. Since leaving Taunton to go to University in Southampton, I joined a Sea Scout Troup as a Scout Leader. Then after a few years, moved on to helping the Explorer Unit as ESL.

Sarah and I moved back to Taunton in November 2018, which has given me the opportunity to take on this exciting role as I rediscover my old home county.

District Network Commissioner
Jess Morgan
District Media Manager

Matt Norman
District Youth Commissioner & District Media Manager
Josh Windsor
Deputy District Youth Commissioner

Hi, I’m Josh, and I’m the new Deputy Youth Commissioner. I have been involved in Scouting nearly all of my life so far, where I was a Cub, Scout and Explorer (Young leader). Then when I turned 18, I  became an Assistant Cub Scout Leader with my local group, 1st Ilminster.

I am so thrilled to take on this new role and looking forward to meeting new young people to discuss Scouting & Youth Shaping.

My aim is to make sure each Scouter has their voice heard within Youth Shaped Scouting, this can be achieved through:

✓ Camp theme suggestions.

✓ Weekly programme activities.

(These are just a few examples).

Matt Franks
District Beaver Scout Leader

I’ve been involved in Scouting since my eldest son started as a Beaver with Trinity Scout Group where I pretty quickly took up the role of Beaver Scout Leader.

After 2 years there I was asked to take on North Taunton as they were loosing their Beaver leadership and were down to just a few Beavers.  Meanwhile, my son moved on to Cubs at Wilton.  North Taunton Beavers took off and we were inundated with new Beavers getting up to 24.  After helping to start another Colony at North Taunton to ease the waiting list I decided to take a break from the weekly meetings and that’s why I’m currently a District Beaver Leader!  My eldest son is now moving into Explorers and my youngest starts Beavers in September when I’m hopefully going back to being in a Group again whilst also staying in this role.

David Humphrey
District Beaver Scout Leader
District Cub Scout Leader
Graham Bell
District Scout Leader
Duncan Biddulph
District Scout Leader
Diane Harding
Appointments Secretary
Abbie Cook
Scout Shop Manager
Richard Cook
Badge Secretary
Dave Mullen
Gang Show Producer
Martin Allen
District Nights Away Advisor

I started with the 7th Reigate as a Cub, then went through Scouts and the local Venture Unit and Scout Fellowship, before moving to Cornwall to become qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in the Civil Service, and getting my 1st set of Wood Beads by working with a small Troop in Grampound – a Troop so small that at times you could fit all of them in the back of the car with their seat belts on.

I moved to Taunton in the early ’90s, and have been with Staplegrove since, in both Scouts or Cubs. I helped Steve Mitchell start the first Explorer Unit, and have had roles as a Training Adviser and Trainer in Somerset.

Outside Scouting I enjoy cycling – touring and road – and woodwork on the lathe.

Mike Bussell
District Nights Away Advisor
Shaun Dale
Chairman & District Nights Away Advisor
David Johnson
John Lewis
Executive Committee Member
James Nelson
Executive Committee Member

My Scouting began with North Taunton Beavers in 2001, before moving across to Staplegrove whilst in Cubs with a group of friends. I progressed through the sections to adult leadership and am now an ACSL with Staplegrove, as well as an ASL with a group in Bristol, where I studied at University and now work as a Chartered Surveyor.

I am passionate about raising the profile of Scouting and encouraging more people into the movement, which can be achieved by showcasing the life changing opportunities we are providing to young people and adults every week.

Outside of Scouting I am involved with the Somerset Carnivals, being a member of Harlequin Carnival Club based in Ilminster.

Steve Mitchell
Executive Committee Member
Phillip Bayles
Executive Committee Member
Laura Willetts
Executive Committee Member
Jenny Norman
Executive Committee Member
Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls