John Methven celebrates a lifetime of service with Boys Brigade

John Methven MBE is retiring after 80 years at The Boys Brigade. Picture by Steven Brown Photography.
John Methven MBE is retiring after 80 years at The Boys Brigade. Picture by Steven Brown Photography.

Squeezing amongst the milling crowds in Bennochy Parish Church on Friday, I spotted a gentleman calmly observing the hubbub.

Kirkcaldy born and bred John Methven traipsed after his brothers through the doors of the 4th Kirkcaldy Boys Brigade when he was eight years old - 80 years ago.

The fun and camaraderie of the BBs was infectious and John, who had stuck at it, was promoted to an officer in 1944 at the age of 27.

John’s sprightly storytelling belies his 89 years and his fondness for the organisation that has woven its way through his life, shines through with an enthusiasm that refuses to abate.

“It’s been a good part of my life - in fact my life’s pride. It has been an education as well.”

John talks with great tenderness of the institution that he has been inseparable from for eight decades and despite only retiring this year, his undying passion and verve add great depth to the memorabilia displayed throughout the church hall to mark his retirement. A glimpse around the BB’s of the past showed smart uniforms and kinship to be the link between the smiling sepia faces.

“It was about community spirit back then,” John said. “That has been the biggest notable change over the years. The world has changed and so has the BBs.”

Rising through the ranks to Lieutenant/Officer in Charge in 1959 to a senior Kirk Elder in 1961 John was promoted to Captain in 2000. Along the way he led St John’s BBs in a celebration of the platoon’s jubilee in 1975, erected a cairn containing a time capsule of the history of the brigade and was invested as an MBE in June 2009.

The weekend event was organised to mark John’s service, and celebrate all the people who have made up the ranks of the 4th Kirkcaldy Boys Brigade past and present.

Roy Daniels, current Captain said: “The church was brimming on Sunday. We had a wonderful meal at the Victoria Hotel with over 100 people. John was bowled over as lots of his family turned up from across the country.”Bill Stevenson, director for Scotland and Ian McCallum, development worker, who attended, were presented with a donation to help with renovations of a property used by the BB’s.