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Top scout bill will be missed

WARM tributes have been paid to a popular Solihull man who had a long association with the borough's Scouting movement and for his pioneering work in the field of explosives after the Second World War.

WARM tributes have been paid to a popular Solihull man who had a long association with the borough's Scouting movement and for his pioneering work in the field of explosives after the Second World War.

Former scientist and engineer Bill Simmonds of Streetsbrook Road, who died at the age of 90 on July 16 this year, was the holder of one of the highest accolades to be bestowed on a member of the Scouts - the Silver Wolf.

During the past fifty years he also held the office of Chairman and County Commissioner of Solihull Scouts.

His links with the organisation were first formed when he was just five years old and he attended a camp in 1922 and during his childhood his family were closely acquainted with the the founder of the Scout movement, Baden Powell.

Born in Watford, he was educated at schools in Plymouth, before studying physics at University College, London.

During World War Two he worked for the Armaments Research Department in Dorset and was involved in measuring blast pressures from explosions and later discovered with a team of scientists that open windows minimised blast damage.

After 1945, he moved to Solihull and later became the director of the Gas Council Midlands Research Station, formerly based at Wharf Lane in Solihull. He also undertook work for the International Gas Union and was well-known in that arena worldwide.

Greg Dodd, deputy county chairman of Solihull Scouts, knew him well. He said: "Bill was a wonderful man who contributed an enormous amount to the Scouts. He had this great affinity and desire to help young people and especially children with special needs."

Present Solihull Scouts County Chairman Councillor Ken Meeson said: "He gave a tremendous contribution to scouting and made a big difference to young people across the borough. He was part of scouting history and will be sadly missed."

His wife Betty said: "He will be remembered most for his mischievous sense of humour and for his approachability." "His door was always open to anyone with a problem."

Outside of work, his other interests included ornithology and walking and he loved dogs.

His funeral was held at Olton United Reformed Church on July 29 to a packed church.

Bill is survived by his wife Betty whom he married in 1942 and their two children Ralph and Katherine.

 

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