Boys’ Brigade – The Adventure Begins Here

One of our most recent members, Doug Wilson, was quick off the mark to deliver his “jobtalk”. Although a trained electrical engineer, Doug’s real vocation was in the Boys’ Brigade and it was his long, and continuing, service to the BB (60 remarkable years from early boyhood) that Doug chose to tell us all about.

In 1976, Doug moved to Stevenage, Herts, working as an electrician and in 1981 made one of life’s big decisions: to become a full-time BB training officer for England and Wales at the then-London HQ of the organisation. This was a dream-come-true for Doug to convert his part-time leisure activity into a full-time career. However, life rarely runs smoothly and the BB chose, 5 years later, to move HQ to Glasgow and, after another 5 years, to Cambridge. Douglas moved too, on both occasions.

The BB is one of the biggest Christian youth organisations in the UK and has 50,000 members and 15,000 volunteer leaders so it was no easy job that Doug had taken on. However, his motivation and enthusiasm for the task was evident to all. Over the years Doug has witnessed and encouraged the best of youthful endeavour in an organisation which empowers boys to make good, rational decisions in life for the benefit of society generally as well as for self-improvement. Doug himself derived a major side-benefit through meeting his future wife, Chris, while she was attending a training course to become a BB officer which had been organised by Doug and both are now happily retired in Ayrshire. However, for Doug, the adventure doesn’t stop: he is now a company officer at both17th Ayr (Castlehill) and 12th Ayr (Coylton)!

In the course of his talk Doug gave examples of big events in BB history in which he had been involved (eg in 1983 at the massive Ibrox Park open-air service and a memorial service at St Pauls Cathedral to honour Sir William Smith, the Brigade founder). In contrast, he highlighted some of the difficulties working with youth today as result of child protection laws and health & safety regulations. However, the movement endeavours to keep up with cultural and societal changes and to support boys in dealing with these.

Charlie Steele thanked Doug for his highly informative talk and remarked on Doug’s obvious dedication and commitment to youngsters. Life in the BB had certainly been an adventure for Doug.