A COUNTY Durham boy with an hereditary muscle wasting disease has visited Windsor Castle to collect a prestigious scouts award.

Louis Jackson, 10, of Spennymoor, County Durham was given the Chief Scout’s Commendation for Meritorious Conduct after being nominated by his scout leader Lesley Swinney.

Louis lives with Becker muscular dystrophy, a muscle-wasting condition that causes muscles to weaken and waste. It often leads to severe disability and can be life threatening.

He was invited to the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle (a private area), along with about 2,000 award holders and guests.

The Northern Echo:

Read more: Spennymoor boy with hereditary disease gets top scout award

He and the other Queen's Scouts marched into the Quadrangle, where the parade was reviewed by a representative of the Royal Family – the Queen’s Lord-Lieutenant.

The parade then marched through the castle and down to St George's Chapel, before moving out of the castle and back to the Royal Mews. Crowds outside gathered to watch.

The event was put on to celebrate Queen's Scouts, who have worked hard to achieve the highest youth award within Scouting, and Gallantry and Meritorious Conduct award holders, who have been nominated for their bravery and heroism.

Louis was awarded the Chief Scout’s Commendation for Meritorious Conduct by Bear Grylls after being nominated by his scout leader Lesley Swinney.

Louis said: “I got to meet really famous people, including Bear Grylls. He said he was really proud of me for getting the award. I felt very happy. I like collecting new badges at Scouts, and getting this award made me feel very special.”

He developed a love for Scouting from the moment he went to his first meeting four years ago and he and his family said they hugely value the activities that being a Scout have opened up to him.

Read more: County Durham boy on zipwire in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK

Louis' mum Sarah Jackson said: “The moment we found out Louis had won the award was just fantastic. We are so proud of him. It’s amazing that someone had taken the time to nominate him and we feel so privileged that his uniqueness is being recognised as such a strength,” said Sarah Jackson, Louis’s mum.

“Louis has been going to Scouts ever since he turned six years old and he loves it. He’s been camping, taken part in activity days and earned badges. The group has always made an effort to be inclusive, and it’s wonderful to see Louis grow in confidence independent of the family,” she added.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said: “I am so proud of Louis and all the young people achieving meritorious and gallantry awards. They have done such remarkable things at such a young age and they are an example to so many of us. These young people showed true courage in the face of adversity, they demonstrated resilience and they helped to save lives. I couldn’t be prouder of them and their spirit, and I am delighted that we were able to recognise their bravery.”

The Northern Echo: Proud Louis Jackison with chief scout Bear GryllsProud Louis Jackison with chief scout Bear Grylls

Louis was diagnosed with Becker muscular dystrophy when he was three years old after his family first noticed that he was experiencing mobility and behavioral issues.

Family life has been greatly impacted for the Jacksons. Louis’s behavioural and mobility issues mean they’re limited in the activities they can do together but they still find ways to enjoy time as a family.

“For a very long time, the behavioural aspect of Louis’s condition dominated everyday life and made for some interesting days out! It was hard on his older brother, Will, and we did our best as parents during meltdowns.”

“Now, we all cope better but the physical issues are more apparent. We can no longer carry Louis and he doesn’t like to use his wheelchair. This limits the activities we can do together, which is tough for him and his siblings. Louis has a Segway cart and so we try to go to places where he can use this so we can enjoy time together as a family.”

Sarah says Muscular Dystrophy UK has supported the family since Louis’s diagnosis, helping to give information and comfort throughout their journey.

The Northern Echo:

“Muscular Dystrophy UK has been a huge support, every step of the way. When the genetic results came through, we were pointed in the direction of their website. Initially, we just used them for information and then we started getting more involved.”

“We set up our family fund Love for Louis and a huge turning point was the family fund weekend where we met other families. We no longer felt so alone and saw there were activities we could do as a whole family. We would be in a much darker place without MDUK.”

Susanne Driffield, Regional Development Manager-North of England & East Midlands from Muscular Dystrophy UK said: “Louis is a superstar and The Chief Scout’s Commendation for Meritorious Conduct is well-deserved.”

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