A GRIEVING couple received an award from chief scout Bear Grylls thanking them for their dedication to Lawford Scouts in spite of personal tragedy.

Mark and Wendy Jones were given a letter along with a certificate each from the TV survival expert after suffering the loss of their grandson and son in the space of 13 months.

The personal award recognised their commitment to scouting throughout the difficult time.

Mark, 1st Lawford Scouts group leader, and Wendy, an assistant Beaver leader, carried on giving up their time to run the club for the community throughout the illnesses of both family members.

Their grandson George died in February 2017 at just five months old, after being born with his organs on the outside of his body.

Then in March last year their 31-year-old son Ashley, George’s dad, died after a short battle with bowel and liver cancer.

The letter said: “Your story is an inspiration to so many, and personifies all that is best about scouting.

“You are a shining example and your contribution and devotion to scouting is such an inspiration to me and many other.

“You should be rightly proud.”

The certificate was given to the couple for their commitment to scouting in Colchester North as they are district team helpers too.

Wendy said: “It was such a surprise. We are so overwhelmed and proud.

“We thank everyone through all our walks of life, for the love and the support we have received.

“We thank our family, friends and our Scout family as it is not until something in life happens that we do realise the scout family is a real family.

“We couldn’t have got through it without them all.”

Christine Meadway, Lawford Scouts secretary, said: “As a group and as a district we are tremendously proud of them.

“It’s a rare thing to get, I’ve never seen one before.”

Mark and Wendy have been fundraising to keep Ash and George’s memory alive by continuing to raise money for the Sick Children’s Trust and St Helena Hospice.

The scouts are hosting a 70s night at the Lawford Venture Centre on Saturday, February 23 from 7.30pm, with tickets costing £10 each.

The pair are also helping fundraise for a trek in Iceland with Ash’s wife Victoria Jones in aid of St Helena Hospice, which took care of Ash in his final days.

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/guardian-angels-trek.