Girls’ brigade appeal for new officers

Girls' Brigade in Methil
Girls' Brigade in Methil

An urgent appeal for new company officers and parent helpers has been issued by the local Methil Girls’ Brigade group.

The plea comes ahead of an organised information session at Wellesley parish Church – where the group meets on Thursday evenings – to attract local people to take on the roles.

The Methil company is incredibly popular and, following a challenge by headquarters to boost its numbers by at least 10 earlier this year, they welcomed 32 new young girls – making the need for more officers and volunteers even greater.

The posts must be filled by May 2015, as both current officers are leaving their posts.

Jeannie Stoddart, who was formally the commissioner for all of Fife after starting the Brigade in Kirkcaldy in 1997, is moving back to England, while Marjory McHattie will retire after more than three decades.

“Anyone who wants to take on the role obviously has the biggest commitment on a Thursday evening, but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” said Jeannie.

“But the process of training to become an officer is very hands on.”

The Rev. Gillian Paterson of Wellesley Parish Church is heavily involved with the group and has final say on any applicants. While being a member of the church is not an absolute necessity, she notes that an officer must live their life by Christian ethics.

“And of course, they have to like working with children too,” she added.

Jeannie, who joined her own local company at age 11, said officers play a special role in the girls’ lives.

“I suppose what made me stay and want to become an officer myself was the input that officers had in my life and the view that I could put that into others’ lives. You come here and you watch these girls grow and develop.

“There may be people out there who used to be officers at other folded brigades or were brigaders themselves. But anyone who is interested will get lots of support; it’s a huge network.”

Fellow officer Marjory will be leaving the company next month after a monumental 32 years in the job. As expected, it’s a bitter-sweet time for her.

“I’ve been doing it for so long because I just love the children, I just love what I do.

“I’m going to miss it – to be honest, I don’t know how I’m going to get through it!

“For anyone who is thinking of taking this on, you have to just put your all into it. It is a big commitment but it’s so nice to see them enjoying it. I’ve got the grandchildren now of girls I saw when I first started as an officer!”

For anyone interested, the information event takes place at the church this Saturday, November 15, from 10.00 a.m. until noon.