Honour for a half century of service to The Boys’ Brigade

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A stalwart of the 1st Bothwell Boys’ Brigade has been honoured for his unstinting commit-ment to the organisation for more than half a century.

Former company captain David Sneddon, who comes from Motherwell, has not only been involved at a local level, giving up his time selflessly to help organising numerous group activities – but also taken a very active role nationally as chairman of Boys’ Brigade Scotland committee at its headquarters at Carronvale House, Larbert.

According to current 1st Bothwell Boys’ Brigade captain Robin McLean, who has been in the position for the past 12 years, David’s contribution to the movement is immeasurable.

He said: “David joined as a boy at the age of eight and has been with the brigade ever since. He has contributed so much to the running of the brigade and as an organisation we can not show our appreciation too much. He is also still serving with distinction at a national level.”

David celebrated his half century with the Brigade two years ago but has shown no sign of slowing down in his commitment to the organisation.

Robin added: “David is 59 and retired from his full-time job a couple of years ago but, if anything, he is taking a more active role in the Boys’ Brigade than he ever did.”

David worked for Glasgow Corporation before council re-organisation in the mid 1990s, then transferring to South Lanarkshire Council.

In recognition of all the hard work over the years, both locally and nationally, Robin presented David with the Captain’s Award to mark his many years of service.

One of the many highlights of his time in the Brigade is when he represents the Brigade at the annual General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In May this year he accompanied the Princess Royal in Edinburgh when she inspected The Brigade on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Reflecting on his time in the Brigade, David said on the Boys’ Brigade Scotland website: “My BB life began in the Life Boy team at 1st Bothwell in 1965. The Company was fairly small but very vibrant; there was always a buzz on BB night and always plenty of things to do. As a 12 year old, the concept of being well organised was probably something I didn’t really think about – and yet the Company must have been, as there were activities on three nights per week plus sports and competitions most Saturday mornings, and of course Bible class on a Sunday.

“Highlights from these times include meeting my friends, Company camps, the expedition hikes, gaining my Queen’s Badge and even the one and only time we won the Battalion drill competition.”

These experiences stuck with him and he managed to work his way up to become company leader.

He continued: “I became a BB leader because I wanted to share what I had enjoyed in the BB with the next or possibly even future generations.

“As a young leader I learned a great deal from the other officers, not only at 1st Bothwell, but also officers in other Companies – especially my peers as we completed our officers’ basic training together. One particular highlight as a young leader was how early the captain and seniors gave me their trust as I was allowed to organise and lead weekends away for our NCOs as part of their leadership training.

“I have served in many different roles both in Hamilton and District Battalion and within the Lanarkshire District Fellowship, learning all the time and sharing marvellous experiences with young people from around the county and from across Scotland.”

And in his role for them nationally he said it gave him an overview of how the brigade worked nationally.

He said: “The Scotland committee takes an overview of all BB work in Scotland and aims to support Battalions around the country to provide the best support which they in turn provide to the local Companies.

“In my time on the committee I have been privileged to work alongside many talented people on a variety of ‘work groups’. It has also been my privilege to be chairman of the Scotland Committee, which I see as not just the task of chairing the regular meetings, but also representing the BB in Scotland at appropriate events to promote the BB or to share views and ideas with our kindred organisations.”

Depite his national role in the organisation, David is adamant that his first and most important role is still to work with the young people in Bothwell, something he says he still particularly enjoys doing. He said: “I hope to continue to try to offer them the opportunities and experiences that I have enjoyed through my long membership of the BB.”