Boom­ing com­pany is buck­ing na­tional Boys’ Brigade trend

Group: Thriv­ing 1st Buckie or­gan­i­sa­tion is one of the UK’ s largest

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - MORAY NEWS - BY DAVID MACKAY

Some north-east Boys’ Brigade com­pa­nies have warned they are in dan­ger of clos­ing down.

But one Mo­ray com­mu­nity is def­i­nitely buck­ing the trend.

The 1st Buckie group is one of the largest in the UK with more than 160 young­sters ac­tively in­volved ev­ery week.

Last night, the vast ma­jor­ity of them were smartly dressed at the town’s high school to take part in the com­pany’s weekly ac­tiv­ity ses­sion.

Alan McIn­tosh is in his 39th year as cap­tain of the group – af­ter ini­tially join­ing as a young­ster him­self in 1961.

The for­mer teacher be­lieves the key to the suc­cess of the Buckie BB has been lis­ten­ing to what the mem­bers want.

He said: “We’ve kept up with the times. We still have open­ing and clos­ing ser­vices ev­ery Fri­day – there’s still a lot of tra­di­tion with what we do.

“We need to keep them in­ter­ested so we have a wide pro­gramme in­clud­ing car main­te­nance, gym­nas­tics and drug ed­u­ca­tion.

“We had about 50 boys away on a camp in May. Some com­pa­nies still use tents and por­ta­ble toi­lets but we re­alised 10 or 15 years ago that we weren’t get­ting any­where with that. The boys won’t go.

“When we go now we stay in lodges and that’s made a big dif­fer­ence.”

Ev­ery week there are 30 an­chor boys, aged six and seven, at Mon­day ses­sions, more than 30 young­sters at­tend band prac­tices and gym­nas­tic lessons on Tues­days, about 150 go to Buckie High School on Fri­days and about 60 are at Sun­day Bible classes. Fundrais­ers are held at least once a month on Satur­days.

The com­pany’s ranks are bol­stered by more than 30 of­fi­cers and vol­un­teers – some­thing that has been a strug­gle for other groups to re­cruit.

Mr McIn­tosh be­lieves “com­mit­ment and lead­er­ship” is at the core of what has at­tracted adults and young­sters to the or­gan­i­sa­tion in Buckie.

Mal­colm Smith has helped mould the foot­ballers in the com­pany’s five-a-side team into Scot­tish cham­pi­ons in 2013 and 2014.

He said: “The big­gest thing I get out of be­ing in­volved is see­ing boys, who maybe are a bit shy, grow­ing up through the Boys’ Brigade to the point where they take on re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as they get older.

“It’s helped them get into jobs and start their ca­reers. It’s down to the peo­ple who run it though, they’re 110% com­mit­ted to it, it’s their lives.”

“We need to keep them in­ter­ested so we have a wide pro­gramme”

SUC­CESS­FUL TEN­URE: Alan McIn­tosh is in his 39th year as cap­tain of the 1st Buckie Boys’ Brigade af­ter join­ing as a young­ster

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