A WELL-LOVED youth leader who devoted almost 60 years to scouting, has passed away at the age of 84.

Ian Canning joined the 73rd Scout Group at the age of eleven and it was a passion that remained with him all his life.

Her inspired generations of young people, passing on his love of camping and the outdoors.

Ian was married to Iris who also played a major role in scouting locally, and the couple lived in Moffat Street.

Bernard McGuinness, district commissioner, Greenock and Districts, west region, had know Ian for more than 40 years.

He said: "Ian will be a great loss to the district.

"His historical scouting knowledge, his stories and his friendship will be missed by all of us who knew him."

In 1954 he became assistant scout later then scout leader three years later.

His rise through the ranks continued with his appointment as group scout leader in 1975.

He remained in post for 24 years before retirement age meant he had to stand down.

But when the rules changed Ian came back as as assistant group scout leader.

In 2010 he was awarded the Silver Wolff by Chief Scout Bear Grylls, the highest award a UK leader can receive.

Ian played bagpipes in one the district bands, enjoyed cycling and rode motorbikes.

In the 1980s he encouraged International camping with summer trips to France, Germany and Jersey and since 1983 ensured that at least one scout from the 73rd group could attend the world scout jamboree.

Bernard said: "Ian was a pioneer and encouraged as many as possible into scouting. When girls were allowed to join all sections of the movement, Ian was the first to embrace this move and in 1993 encouraged girls into the 73rd scout troop."

Not only content with running the 73rd, he helped to spread the scouting movement by starting groups in Port Glasgow and Gourock.

Over the years Ian helped at the National Activity Campsite at Lochgoil, was on the Lapwing Lodge management board, was a District Kayaking Advisor, an Assistant District Commissioner and was a member of the District Executive committee for over 3 decades and recently became a Vice President.

Bernard said: "Ian is survived by his wife, Iris, his elder brother Jimmy, his nieces and nephews and all the rest of their scouting family, the many hundreds of young boys and girls who received opportunities thanks to the work Ian did."

Mr Canning's funeral will be held at St Laurence's Church in Greenock on Thursday(December 6) at 10am and thereafter at Greenock Crematorium at 11am.