Dr Peter Johnson OBE was a local GP in the Alma Road surgery just across the road from our Centre, as his father was before him.
During the Second World War he served in the Army Medical Corp, and when he returned to Romsey in 1947, he offered his services to help Scouting. The need at that time was for a District Commissioner so Dr Peter accepted that role. Scouting had declined over the war years so he set about rebuilding and developing the district. He remained District Commissioner for 18 years, during which time he succeeded in strengthening and growing Romsey District into a thriving centre of Scouting excellence. In 1965 he changed role and became the District Chairman, a role he held for twenty-four years, overseeing all that took place within the district and influencing it with his wise counsel and great experience. In 1988 he was made our District Vice President, a role he actively filled until his death in 2002, attending his last event only three weeks before he died.
Scouting was not just an add-on for Dr Peter, it was an integral part of his life. There are reports of him delivering babies in his scout uniform (in those days, still shorts and big brimmed hats!) and of him charging the new Mum a shilling afterwards if it was Bob-a-Job week. His career as a local GP gave him a wide range of contacts in the community up to and including Lord Mountbatten of Burma, another local supporter of Scouting. Dr Peter was always active in using that network to find people to help Scouting, whether encouraging them to become leaders, or simply charming them into financial support for one project or another. Beneath it all was his firm belief that Scouting brought great benefits to young people, and that this in turn reaped benefits for the community as Scouts developed into responsible citizens.
Alongside his lifelong commitment to Romsey, Dr Peter also served the Scout County and Headquarters, and was a member of the Chief Scout’s Advance Party in 1965 which brought forward recommendations to modernise Scouting. He received a number of awards for his services to Scouting, culminating in the award of the Silver Wolf, the unrestricted gift of the Chief Scout for services of the most exceptional nature.
After Dr Peter’s death Scouting received a small bequest and we used that as the base to grow a fund that would build this centre in his memory.