A COUPLE who have between them clocked up 117 years of service to Scouting were awarded the Unsung Hero Award – the only award chosen by public vote.

Beryl and Michael Mullender both started Scouting in the 1950s as assistant Cub leaders, and they are still going strong today.

Beryl, who spent 20 years in Guiding, said they had no plans to leave the movement.

She said: “It is nice to know that we won because of a public vote – I think it does make it a bit more special.”

Her husband said: “We do really enjoy it, and we don’t have any plans to stop.”

Steven Connolly, centre director of Festival Place, which sponsored the award, said the couple deserved to be recognised for their long service.

He said: “They have shown a long-term commitment to Scouting, to the youth of Basingstoke and to everyone who has had the good fortune to have enjoyed their help and advice.”

The pair were also praised by Andy Cullen, Basingstoke East Scout district commissioner.

He said: “They are great supporters of Scouting and have been for 60 years, and we have benefited from their many years of experience. They thoroughly deserve their award.”

The other finalists were Mary Coleman, who has volunteered as a cleaner at St Michael’s Hospice for nearly two decades, and Brian Donegan, who has spent 31 years volunteering in a variety of roles to support gymnastics in Basingstoke.