Valedictory for Adrian Hastings

Monday, 9 December 2013

 It is with sadness that we write this piece about Adrian Hastings following his unexpected death on the 18th November 2013.

Woodcraft Folk came to the attention of Adrian and Sue Hastings in 1986 and they sought to enrol their 6 year old daughter Rachel in a local Elfin group.  They were put in touch with John Hoffman and Rose Griffiths in Leicestershire district and were asked to commit a little time to help run the group.  Adrian stepped in and never looked back. 

The Woodcraft Folk’s traditional creed resonated strongly with Adrian. He always believed in equality for all and was determined to improve the world we live in through grassroots action.  These values reflected his student years as a political activist for the Communist Party and his years spent providing healthcare in an impoverished and war torn Mozambique. 

In the following two decades, Adrian became involved in many aspects of the Woodcraft Folk, helping Leicestershire District grow by setting up new groups, fundraising and organising the camp stores. He was also active in the Midlands region working as a training officer and forging strong links with the Midlands Co-op.  Adrian was reliable and diligent in his offerings and never sought thanks, whether it was keeping accounts, offering a camp doctor service or just choosing a replacement marquee. 

The Woodcraft Folk is a movement with which Adrian had a true synergy and in recent years he was passionate about the need to educate people about the dangers of climate change.  He loved the peaceful and idyllic surroundings of the Lockerbrook outdoor centre and spent many weekends there as a volunteer warden. 

But he will be remembered by many simply as a group leader and dearly valued friend.  In Leicestershire, we all have fond memories of him building ropes swings, leading great walks (always ensuring that the quickest and slowest legs were catered for), his storytelling round campfires, arranging parachute drops, stargazing at bivvies in the freezing cold and, of course, his Morning Cry! He had some more eccentric traits too - he wasn’t shy to don an African kaftan in a room full of Pioneers (no matter how much it embarrassed his children!) and some have called his enforcement of rigidly structured three-bowl washing up "militant".

He was always generous with his time and effort, especially when attempting to organise and care for camp equipment.  He would happily offer his Espace car for any camp duty, no matter how treacherous or muddy and would drape the length of his house with Marquee walls to ensure they always went away dry.   Adrian would enthuse new members and was always conscious to support people and build their confidence, he wasn’t afraid to lead a group of pioneers up Kinder Scout in 3 foot of snow!  Although often understated, his knowledge and enthusiasm was greatly appreciated by all and has led to a thriving Leicestershire district.

Adrian will remain synonymous with Leicestershire Woodcraft Folk for so many of us.  He was ‘Mr Woodcraft’ who knew everything in breadth and depth about what we were doing, what we were trying to do and even how to light the blooming boiler!  Adrian made a great deal of very good friends through Woodcraft and his involvement has given those who knew him so, so many happy memories.