Obituary: Peter Sutherst put Scouting in Luton in the spotlight

A man who was recognised for his distinguished service to Scouting died on June 8 at the age of 86 following illness.

As a former Scouts media manager Peter Sutherst kept the local press informed with the latest news from Bedfordshire County, Luton Town, Falkes and the old Sommeries Districts, helping to put Scouting out there for the public to see.

During his time with Luton Scouts media team, he was instrumental in producing the Luton Town Scouting website and Luton Scout Facebook page, maintaining high standards with both.

Keen Hatters fan Peter, of Mount Grace Road, Luton, found a sponsor for the Luton Scouts media team which helped promote Scouting with the local papers and radio. He penned his first press release in 1969.

Scout stalwart Peter Sutherst received a Silver Acorn award in 2011

The Young Spokespersons courses came about because of Peter. He ran a course back in the mid 2000s, then helped bring about the 2017-18 courses which were aimed at youth members aged 14-25 who were keen to promote Scouting and learn more about the media.

Peter was the first person to receive the award of National Media Manager twice for the quantity and quality of Bedfordshire Scouting promoted in the various forms of media and he was heavily involved when Bear Grylls visited the county for the water day at Luton Hoo in 2013.

Peter was at his busiest at investigations. Like finding out that British Olympians had been in Scouting or highlighting the plight of two groups in Luton who had the compulsory purchase of their premises by the Borough Council and that their rates would increase by up to 5,500%, which helped bring down the charges.

Peter received a Silver Acorn in 2011 for his service to Scouting and was involved in Scouting for over 50 years.

In his professional life, Peter had been an aerial photographer with the RAF and Coastal Command before joining Kodak in 1960 where he became training and publications manager with responsibility for laboratory staff in the European region.

He graduated as an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photographers in 1963 and was awarded a Fellowship for services to the industry when he retired in 1994.

Peter was also involve in some high profile court cases regarding the validity of any pictures.

He used his expertise and experience to great effect with the Scouts.

“I must have taken at least a thousand pics a year, ” he told the Luton News in 2014. “And I developed skills in publicity along the way.”

Gerald Law, Luton Scouts Media Manager, said: “Watching Peter find stories out of nowhere and turn it into a newspaper article, a radio interview and for the Scouting Magazine was breathtaking.

“Peter was a one-stop shop media activity person who has raised the quality of media wherever, whenever and whoever he comes into contact with.

“His knowledge and experience will be hard to replace.

“It was a privilege to work with Peter.

“He is a hard act to follow but try we must.

“Our thoughts go out to his wife Cynthia and their family.”

> Peter’s funeral takes place on Wednesday, June 26, at 1.15pm, St Christopher’s Church, Stockingstone Road, Luton. No Flowers. Any Donations to: 17th Holborn Scout and Guides ( and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, Great Ormond Street, London WC1N 3JH.