COOKING UP A TROPHY
If you have been in our District shop you will probably have noticed the cabinet full of trophies. These are for events that are no longer run or are full and have been replaced. Some of our trophies are too good to be retired. The Scout section's cooking competition trophy is a large carved wooden spoon with a brass Fleur De Leys mounted at the end of the handle. The winners are engraved on brass disks which are mounted in shallow holes drilled into the curved surface of the spoon.
There are a few problems with the cooking trophy. Think of Martin Johnson holding aloft the William Web Ellis trophy when England won the Rugby World Cup in 2003. One of his huge hands is holding the delicate lid on to prevent it falling off. In the same year, the winners of our cooking competition were having to hold the brass Fleur De Leys in place when posing for pictures. Even then, the winners were unable to add themselves to the trophy due to lack of space. Very few people have seen the brass fleur de leys since.
Back when I was ADC, doing something about the cooking trophy would be discussed every year. It was too nice to replace and due to its gently curving profile too tricky to mount on a larger plinth. The idea of mounting it on a wooden chopping board was never fully investigated because that chopping board would have to be the size of a small table. As is too often the case we talked a lot but did nothing.
Sometimes things just come together at the right time. 3rd Gidea Park won the trophy again in 2015. At about the same time, while walking to my office in Victoria I was delayed by a crowd of photographers attending the opening of a new restaurant. The crowds were gone by the time I went home but hanging in the window of Jamie Oliver's Italian I could see what looked like a very long thin wooden chopping board for sale.
A quick look at his web site told me that his branded giant antipasti plank wasn't quite giant enough for our spoon but it gave us the idea. While discussing this with my fellow Scout Leaders, Paul mentioned that there was a block of mahogany in our tent store that was big enough and suggested I speak to our assistant cub leader Richard as he would have the skills to do something about it. We made sure our ADC was happy with our plans before starting work.
I trawled through back issues of the district news to build a list of the winners who weren't recorded on the spoon. Richard set to work and while removing some brass discs from the reverse side of the spoon discovered that some had been re-used and had been engraved on both sides. When Richard got a quote for new brass disks he discovered why the existing ones were being re used. They cost £20 a go before engraving! To save considerable cost, Richard brought a brass sheet and cut the discs himself. Enough spares to last the next few years are held in a compartment on the back of the trophy.
The mahogany was shaped to resemble an antipasti plank and the top end of the spoon where the brass Fleur De Leys broke off was tidied up. The Fleur De Leys itself was mounted on a Perspex block which along with the spoon has been securely attached to the plank with brass discs for all of the missing winners.
The winners of this year's event will be presented with a trophy that is much more than a wooden spoon. It has a complete set of winners engraved and space for a good few years to come. The only trouble is, when it is time to retire it, the shop is going to need a bigger cabinet!
Mark Hutton – Scout leader 3rd Gidea Park.