Star award for Brownie leader who is inspirational role model

Twenty-year-old Brownie leader Laila Elson, of Blidworth, who has received the prestigious Guiding Star award.
Twenty-year-old Brownie leader Laila Elson, of Blidworth, who has received the prestigious Guiding Star award.

A young woman from Blidworth has been given a national award for her outstanding commitment to the village’s Brownie unit.

When Laila Elson’s mum, Hebran, died four years ago, it looked as if the unit she ran might have to disband because of a shortage of leaders.

But determined Laila did all she could to keep it open, even though she was only 15, and soon after her 18th birthday, she completed her leadership qualification. Even when it came to going to university, she chose Nottingham Trent so she was close to home and able to return to Blidworth every Tuesday evening to run the Brownies.

Now she has been presented with the Guiding Star, a special award for members of Girlguiding UK who have displayed “exceptional courage or shown great initiative or responsibility”. “She is an inspiration to us all,” said Kathy Straw, who is the unit’s Brown Owl and who nominated the 20-year-old for the award.

Laila, who is the youngest leader in the Mansfield division, and Kathy organise activities and outings for the 18 Brownies in the Blidworth group.

The division’s commissioner, Sarah Clarkson, said: “Laila has continued to develop the unit while providing support for her younger sister and her grandparents, balancing all of that with commitment to her studies. She is a brave and inspirational role model for all our girls.”

The award was presented by Abi Salter, chief commissioner for Girlguiding Midlands, who praised Laila’s “tremendous enthusiasm” and said: “She is a shining example of how young people can make a difference in their community.”