Sea Scout Tom Streeter was left heartbroken for the second year running when he was banned from wearing his late grandfather’s war medals on Remembrance Sunday.
Tom, 14, whose parents lead Petworth Town Band, was told by Scout leaders he was not allowed to wear grandad Henry Streeter’s medals awarded for army service in the second world war.
It was a second blow for Tom. Last year he had proudly pinned the medals to his uniform as a member of Fittleworth Scouts.
But when he turned up to join the Remembrance parade at the village church, he was told to take them off.
Desperately upset, he left in tears, clutching the medals.
“The Scout leader just told me I could not wear them. I didn’t want to stay for the service after that,” Tom said.
His mother Paula, who is musical director of Petworth Town Band, told the Observer: “It was incredibly upsetting. He knew why he was wearing the medals and what they represented.”
As a result of the incident, Tom left Fittleworth and joined Pulborough Sea Scouts, only to endure a repeat disappointment last week – despite the Royal British Legion urging people to ‘wear your grandparents’, parents’ or other close relatives’ medals with pride’.
Tom’s father Martyn, bandmaster of the town band, said the family learned five days before the medals would not be permitted at the service at Pulborough church either.
He said he planned to contact the Chief Scout, Bear Grylls.
“As far as I understand, the Scout Association’s national policy would allow it but the Petworth and Pulborough District has formed its own rules.
“They won’t allow grandparents’ medals to be worn. I really cannot understand it. I just think it is very sad,” Mr Streeter said.
But next November will be different for young Tom. Following inquiries this week by the Midhurst and Petworth Observer, Scout leaders of the Petworth and Pulborough District appear to have had a change of heart.
Chris Foster of the Scout Association said in a statement on Tuesday: “The Petworth and Pulborough Scout District is very sorry for the upset caused to the Scout and his family on Remembrance Day when he was not able to wear his grandfather’s medals.
“Following a review within the District, a decision was made for members to wear the medals of their parents and siblings on occasions such as Remembrance Day.
“The decision has now been extended to allow the Scout to wear his grandfather’s medals on future appropriate occasions.”
Martyn Streeter said: “That’s fantastic, it’s the ideal outcome.
“Tom is over the moon. He may only have been 13 and 14 but he was strongly affected by what happened.
“At next year’s Remembrance Day, he will be wearing his grandfather’s medals with pride.”
The Scout Association’s rules on the issue are flexible.
After the incident in 2009, Mr and Mrs Streeter took Tom’s case to the association. They were informed: “War medals awarded to past family members may be worn on the Scout uniform on appropriate occasions.
“Taking part in a Remembrance Parade along with fellow Scouts would be seen as an appropriate occasion.
“However, this decision as and when it is an appropriate occasion is made by the Scouter in charge, ie District Commissioner or the person in charge of the parade/service.”