Scouts in Chelmsford for excitement and an explosive problem
MORE than 7,000 Scouts and Girl Guides descended on Chelmsford last week for the Essex International Jamboree.
Setting up camp at Boyton Hall Farm, Roxwell, the troops and their leaders from 36 countries are enjoying a week of extreme sports, circus skills and live music.
And taking heed of their well-worn motto "Be Prepared", the event's volunteers saw their skills being put to the test after a cooking stove exploded on Sunday.
"Did you hear about the on-fire gazebo?" shouted 11-year-old Josh Bedwell, of Great Baddow.
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The miniature Bear Grylls was talking about a fire on Sunday evening, when a troop leader was burnt in a cooking accident.
Volunteer Sarah Stevenson said: "It happened when one of the leaders was cooking dinner; the gas stove malfunctioned and exploded.
"He had about 30 per cent burns but, because of the quick reactions of the paramedics and staff, he's leaving hospital with only three per cent burns.
"We called the air ambulance but it wasn't needed and he was taken to Broomfield hospital by road ambulance. We've heard that he should be back on site in the next couple of days."
But the dramatic incident hasn't detracted from the event, already being hailed a success by the youngsters taking part.
Grace Ellis, 13, of Writtle's Girl Guides, said: "I've really enjoyed trying all the new activities.
"It's been a lot of fun and I'm glad we've come, especially as it's so close to home."
And 12-year-old Scout Andrew Stocker, of Tiptree, had been looking forward to the event for weeks. He said: "Our troop's never been to a jamboree before, so it's really good being here.
"I joined the Scouts because my brother was one and I've really enjoyed trying all the extreme activities. I've also enjoyed the camping."
On Saturday, the event kicked off with an opening ceremony.
And the site, which has a radio station, cinema, night club, post office, supermarket, fast food restaurant and bank, has everything the participants could need.
Amy Brunsdon, one of the volunteers at the event, said:
"The site is actually as large as Tiptree and is really like a big mobile village, so it's got everything all the Scouts, Guides and volunteers need.
"Thousands of participants from all over the world arrived at the Essex International Jamboree on Saturday.
"This jamboree is the largest Scout and Guide event being held in the UK in 2012, with participants from 36 countries.
"Ports, airports and other routes were awash with Scouts and Guides, making their journeys to camp in Chelmsford."
Tom Pegium, 11, of Great Baddow, said: "I'm really pleased that we're here. I was so excited the night before the jamboree I couldn't sleep.
"It's different to how I imagined, but in a good way."