A young scout leader, who took his own life as he struggled to cope with lockdown, has had a special challenge created in his memory.
Ben Brown, who died on Monday April 27, was just 22 years old.
He had been an architectural engineering student at the University of Loughborough, but found it hard mentally when he wasn’t on the go.
He wrote a letter to his mum Helen Hartery-Brown before his death, Leicestershire Live reports.
Helen said how Ben had been living with university housemates during lockdown and communicating with his family.
“The lockdown had a massive impact on him,” Helen said.
“Ben had not spoken to anyone about how he was feeling. He found it all too overwhelming.”
He was also a leader of the Quantum Potatoes Explorer unit of The 2nd Loughborough Scouts, who have launched the Great Froggo Challenge, which has been taken up by the 70-strong group.
Fellow Explorer Scout and Beaver leader Claudia Sayer said how important Ben had been to the members of the unit and how they came to launch the challenge, which includes a thoughtful section on mindfulness and being able to talk about feelings with others.
It is also helping to raise money for the Papyrus charity for prevention of young suicide.
Ben found frogs cute, hence the name of the challenge, which is made up of three sections and designed for all ages.
Claudia said the first of it was learning all about frogs, such as its life cycle and also craft based, such as making hand-warmers, frog shaped robots.
She said that the middle section of the challenge was more concerted on mindfulness, and mental health: “Our Scouts, Cubs and Beavers are all learning how to talk about their feelings.
“It’s OK to talk about feelings with people and who they might go to if they had problems. Because Ben was really great to talk to about your feelings.
“He was somebody who lit up the room. He always took the time to talk to people. Our Explorers are so fond of the memories of just sitting in the kitchen before the sessions started, talking to him about all sorts of things such as academic life, advice about relationships.
“There was a whole manner of things they could talk about with him and he always had advice for them and if he didn’t have advice he’d front up with them and say: ‘Look I don’t know the answer to that, but let’s work out a solution together’ – that kind of thing.
“And when we got together soon after his passing, that was something that really stuck in their minds that he was somebody they could go to for advice.”
Claudia added that the third section was fun and included activities that Ben either previously did with the Explorers that they enjoyed, or was going to do in the future and: “We wanted to share that element of Ben with other Scout groups around the country, and we’ve actually got interest from groups in South Africa doing the challenge as well.”
Claudia said that Explorer Ben Reynolds, 14, designed the badge for the challenge taking his own and everyone else’s memories of Ben to create a badge that Claudia says friends and family have said “That is so Ben.”
Claudia also said the website was completely coded by 15-year-old Explorer Jonathan Leeming: “He did a phenomenal job.”
All the rest of the Explorers took part in creating the activities and there is also a home pack to send to families if needed.
The challenge has been praised by Tim Kidd, the UK Chief Commissioner for The Scouts, who has also sent a special message to the group saying: “I’ve been really impressed with the work that you’re doing. It’s fantastic.”