AN internationally respected and pioneering Kidderminster Scout leader has died after falling ill about three months ago with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Dis-ease (CJD).

Stuart Hanslow, 53, a father of three and Scout Troop Leader at 8th Kidderminster St John’s Scout Group (KD8), died last Friday at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

KD8 Scouts and their families were stunned by the news and one parent said: “Stuart’s death has come as a great shock to us all. He was such a lovely man, a larger-than-life character with a big personality.

“His generosity and commitment to Scouting and to all the boys was huge and I can’t imagine KD8 without him.”

Originally from Stourbridge, Mr Hanslow settled in Kidderminster in 1985 with his wife Jo and began to help at KD8 14 years ago, when his son Daniel joined the Beaver Scouts.

Following time working with the executive committee at KD8, he began his role as Scout Leader.

Kelvin Morris, KD8 Group Scout Leader, said Mr Hanslow soon established a personal image in the role and adopted his “Scouting name” of Hathi with the elephant symbol.

He said: “Characteristically, Stuart has been that busy person you could ask to do a job.

“This he was only too willing to do with a smile. Whatever needed doing he was only too happy to do.”

He added that Mr Hanslow’s distinctive green fleece, covered in Scout badges, was immediately recognisable in Scouting circles both at home and abroad.

“Rhydd Covert Scout Camp Site was his second home,” said Mr Morris.

“He was an ever-present leader during camps for hundreds of youngsters. They all knew the man in the green fleece.”

In 2002, Mr Hanslow, of Habberley Road, Kidderminster, was one of a group of leaders from KD8 to pioneer a relationship with the Stjerne Gruppe of Scouts in Kidderminster’s twin town of Husum. Joint camps in Germany and the West Midlands cemented the friendship.

In 2006, Mr Hanslow also played a key role in the International Camp attended by KD8 at Tydal in Germany.

The camp, organised by the Dansk Spejderkorps Sydslesvig, hosted Scouts from across Europe, Scandinavia and Africa, with Mr Hanslow extending the friendship group of KD8 with Scout groups in Denmark and Poland.

In August, 2009, he was one of the sub-camp leaders when Kidderminster District Scouts took a party of 162 to camp at De Kluis in Belgium.

Mr Morris said: “Stuart was certainly leading by example in the worldwide family of Scouts.”

At home, Mr Hanslow took up the challenge for KD8 of the Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester competition camp, known as Bald Eagle.

The success of his troop of Scouts in the competitive challenge camp drew more Kidderminster Scout groups to compete in recent years.

Many adults also benefited from Mr Hanslow’s expertise and he was one of the first training advisers in Kidderminster District Scouts.

A funeral date has yet to be set.