Group Reports: Boys’ Brigade

What a great start to 2015. The usual programme of Anchors/Juniors Christmas Party (late) and entering the final session of our badgework for awards. A great Open Evening and Presentation of Awards followed in May showing credit to the members and their families for commitment and work through the year.

At the April Parade we saw Connor Edwards and Tim Lawrence presented with their Queens Badge – the highest award in The Brigade and a culmination of attaining the highest level in every badge, achieving the Presidents Badge and a further two years of leadership, development, visitations, observations and a residential completion course. FANTASTIC!
The end of our summer session faced us with some difficult discussions as Julie (after 25 years as a parent helper then warrant officer) decided to step back from company work – although continuing with Battalion and District involvement. Also Jonathan’s career was taking a new and uncertain direction after he had headed the company after Rosie Pike’s retirement as Captain.

In August Connor, Nathanael and Tim took the second part of their officer cadet training at BB Head Quarters, Feldon Lodge in Hemel Hempstead. It was then in our October ‘enrolment’ that we saw them being commissioned as Warrant Officers, along with all our other members, making us one of the largest companies in the Somerset Battalion.

It was then in September that Nick took the reigns as Captain again, after a break of 22 years, also continues as Battalion Vice-president but, gratefully loses the role of company treasurer to Carol Jones.

We have had a great start to the new session; during September we have seen new boys join our ranks, also staff working together with a new way of using the premises to ease congestion at the beginning of the evening giving appropriate space for the evenings various activities.

So it is with renewed vigour that a wonderful team of leaders, who give up their time each week to run the companies sections, continue to provide this valued part of CPBC outreach.

October saw our Battalion Officers and Chaplains Conference. It was great to see our own Chaplain (and minister) Steve running the conference presentation, until he dropped a bomb and ‘ducked’. A lively discussion pursued over the DNA of BB staff and now that Steve has found out his appointment as Battalion Chaplain could be for five years while Rosie is President, he could be returning next year to try and re-make some friendships. Seriously, many thanks to Steve for not only guiding and enabling our Christian direction on Wednesdays, but also for being really ‘hands on’ in leadership during our crisis times.

We had fantastic news that Jules Samuels, from our company section was to be confirmed at Corpus Christi. He already plays a big role in the life of the church next door (Alter Boy and more) and it was a privilege to be able to take four of our senior boys to the service which was on Wednesday 14th October.

We really appreciate all the family does for the BB, with three lads attending every week and dad (Richard) helping as a regular leader until recently.

The seniors (age 15 years and over) organised and ran a Quiz Evening to raise some funds for activities. A great evening was had by all and the GB held a cake stall to continue their fund raising for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW).

WOW! What an effort – over 70 shoeboxes were collected for Blythswood Care towards their Christmas Appeal. Grateful thanks to Rosie Pike for organising this again and to the friends and members of CPBC and Brigades who contributed so generously to this.

Wednesday 9 December saw the Brigades Carol evening, with ‘home made’ mince pies by our GB afterwards. The girls made a fantastic 150 pies, despite the very temperamental oven which either gently warms or incinerates!!! The ‘retiring offering’ was also in aid of CHSW.

Finally, a great end to another year in the 1st W-s-M history with a certificate congratulating us on growth of members over the last year (statistics and returns are made in October). The BB is still strong and active after 78 years of continuous work at CPBC and today we still see new lads and families coming into the building. THANK YOU all at CPBC for the continued support and encouragement.

Nick Lawrence, Captain