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Mr. Frederick Ernest Preston
Mr. Frederick E Preston came to Rushden in 1906 to work as an architect. He designed the Windmill Hall, the Palace Cinema, The Royal Theatre and St Peter's Church as well as several other fine buildings in Rushden. He was also a sidesman at St Peter's Church, as was the builder, Robert Marriott.

In 1908 he took up Baden Powell's inspiration, and was involved with formation of the 1st Rushden Scout Troop in 1909. He was Scoutmaster until 1915 when he joined up.

Rushden Echo, 9th April 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Sportsmen's Battalion - Rushden Recruit in Training

Pte. F E Preston (Rushden), Sportsmen's Battalion, writes to us from Essex as follows:- "I am always anxious to know how things are progressing in Rushden and still hope to keep in touch with it. I trust the Scouts are going along all right, and are keeping together. We have been down here about three weeks. It is a beautiful place, and the camp is well organised, the huts being well fitted up and the food good, with plenty of it. They are putting us through fairly stiff drills, field work, and route marches. It is said that we shall soon be leaving for abroad."

During WWI the Scout troops across the country helped their local community by delivering messages. In Rushden the troop, together with boys from the Church Lads Brigade, helped by manning the telephone at the Police Station between 7pm and 10.30pm each evening. If a report was received that enemy aircraft were within 70 miles, the boys would run a message to a Special Police Constable. Older boys were detailed to guard railway bridges and tracks, or were on fire watch.

No official recognition for the work was made, so in 1920 the Specials at Rushden made their own presentation, in July 1920, in appreciation for how they had helped them during those years. Jim Matthews tells us that his father Ted, received the presentation bugle in a ceremony from the steps of the old Police Station.

On his return from the war, "Feppy" as he was affectionately known, drew up a Roll of Honour for the 122 scouts who had served, and to the memory of the 26 who had been killed during that conflict. He was appointed District Commissioner and for his dedication to the scouting movement he was awarded a Medal of Merit in 1934.


Rushden Echo & Argus, 12th January 1934

Scouting Service Recognised - Pioneer in Rushden
Medal of Merit for District Commissioner

District Commissioner F. E. Preston, who organised Rushden’s Boy Scout movement and has for 25 years remained its best friend, has been awarded the Medal of Merit, a Scout honour only bestowed in cases of exceptional service.

The medal was pinned on him after he had dined with scoutmasters of the district, and represents the appreciation of all ranks, from the Chief Scout to the smallest Wolf Cub.

Mr. Preston did not actually establish the first Rushden patrol, but having had some experience of C.L.B. work, was attracted to it in the very earliest days, and was to all intents and purposes the pioneer of scouting in Rushden. That was 25 years ago, and he was Scoutmaster of the Rushden Troop until the Great War came and he joined the Artists’ Rifles.

After the war he was at once appointed District Scoutmaster, and in 1923, when a separate district was formed for Rushden, Higham Ferrers and the surrounding places, he became District Commissioner. Through his zeal numerous troops have been founded in the area, while for the Rushden boys Mr. Preston has spared nothing in time, service and generosity. [part of a longer article]

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