Logo: The Methodist Church
Image: The New BB logo
All Sections of our Company meet on Tuesday evenings (during school terms) as follows:
Anchor Boys (P2 – P4) and Puppy Club (P1)
6.30pm – 7.30pm
Junior Section (P5-P7)
7.00pm – 8.30pm
Company Section (Y8-Y14)
7.45pm – 10.00pm
in our church buildings on Albert Road.
Captain: Stephen Lindsay
Chaplain: Rev Dr David Clements
Anchor Boys and Puppy Club
Lt Emma Martin – Officer in Charge
Lt Lois Hermin
Helper Judith Gault
Helper Jonathan McQuitty
Lt Robert Craig – Officer in Charge
Helper Hope McKnight
Helper Mark McKnight
Capt. Stephen Lindsay – Officer in Charge
Lt Colin De Leeuwe
Lt Jeremy Lindsay
Lt Andrew Wilson
Helper Jonathan Tester
Image: Our Anchor Section and Puppy Club during a visit to the Town Hall, pictured with the Mayor, Alderman Patricia McKinney
Image: Anchor Boys & Puppy Club - March 2007
At present we currently have approximately 30 Anchor Boys attending regularly, enjoying a weekly programme of games, crafts, singing and stories.
Our Puppy Club, which caters for Boys below the official Anchor Boy starting age, also meets at the same time, and shares a similar programme. Sadly, however, we don't have many Boys in this category this year, although we hope numbers will pick up again in the future.
We are pleased to be able to accommodate Boys with a wide variety of abilities and interests, with the emphasis very much aimed at ‘lively’ fun!
Each week approximately 12 Boys join in our Junior Section, for a more formal programme of games, achievements (badge work), bell ringing, figure marching, Bible stories, and worship.
Again, we are pleased to be able to provide a broad programme of activities, with something for everyone.
At 1st Carrickfergus our Junior Section takes an active role in wider East Antrim Battalion events and competitions, and in recent years we have achieved success in both the indoor hockey and stool ball competitions.
Image: Junior & Company Sections - March 2007
On Wednesday 11th December 1889 the following article appeared on page 6 of the Belfast Newsletter, in the column headed ‘Ulster Intelligence’:
Formation of a Boys’ Brigade in Carrickfergus.
On Monday evening (9th December 1889) a meeting of gentlemen interested in this object was held in the hall belonging to the Young Men’s Christian Association, High Street. The Rev. George Chamberlain A.B., rector of Carrickfergus, occupied the chair and briefly explained that the movement would have for its object the moral and physical wellbeing of boys belonging to the various protestant denominations in town who might be willing to join. Mr Tuke, Master Gunner R.A., who has taken a deep interest in the matter, and has a club in which upwards of 50 boys are drilled once a week, explained the principles on which the brigade would be formed. It would be connected with similar institutions having their headquarters in towns in England and Scotland, and would be conducted on similar lines. He read a number of rules which he had drawn up for its working, and also read several letters of apology from clergymen and others resident in the neighbourhood, regarding their absence, but expressing their hearty concurrence in the movement. It was proposed that the brigade be formed, and that it be called ‘The First Carrickfergus Boys’ Brigade.’ The names of the office-bearers were submitted, and it was arranged for a committee meeting should be called on an early day to make further arrangements.
The 1st Carrickfergus Company of the Boys’ Brigade is the oldest company in the East Antrim Battalion, and also holds the distinction of being one of the first 12 companies to be established in Northern Ireland.
On 22nd February 1890 a Boys’ Brigade Conference was held in Belfast, the Minutes of which are held by the Belfast Battalion, which record that ‘Mr Tuke, Captain 1st Carrickfergus, explained that the Company had been formed in connection with all the Churches in the town and was therefore ‘undenominational’. There had been a great improvement in the attendance at the Sunday School, and the Company had also been the means of inducing Boys who were too old for the Company to attend the Sunday School more regularly. Bad clothing however appeared to have a somewhat deterrent effect. The number of Boys on the books was 83 with an average attendance of 75.’
At this time, in Northern Ireland, there were only 9 Companies operating in Belfast, along with 1st Carrickfergus, 1st Holywood and 1st Lisburn.
FV Simpson, (known as Vivian Simpson) was born in Dublin, in 1903, and worked as a draper and footwear manufacturer. Simpson, an officer in the 1st Dublin Company, became a lay preacher and then travelled to work in Africa as a Methodist missionary. Whilst in Africa Simpson realised that he needed some sort of activity to engage local children and he wrote to the 1st Dublin Company asking for their hand bells, which were duly dispatched. In 1934 Simpson returned to Ireland, to live in Whitehead, and opened a drapery and shoe shop in West Street, Carrickfergus.
At this time Simpson joined Carrickfergus Methodist Church, and reformed 1st Carrickfergus Boys’ Brigade Company, which was in abeyance. Having returned from Africa with the hand bells, Simpson subsequently gifted these to 1st carrickfergus, and they remain in regular use, by our Junior Section, to this very day.
In 1945 the 1st Carrickfergus Company was affiliated to both Carrickfergus Methodist Church and North Street Presbyterian Church. At this time the Junior Section/Life Boys (ages 9-12) met in the Albert Hall under the leadership of Annie McKeown, assisted by Jessie Graham and May Shaw, with the Company Section/Boys’ Brigade (ages 12 –18) meeting in the Methodist Church Hall under the leadership of FV Simpson, assisted by George Jones, Jonathan Simms and John Millar, with Wesley Strange as staff sergeant.
FV Simpson was now involved in local politics, as a member of the Northern Ireland Labour Party, however this did not sit well with certain members of the Methodist Church and sometime circa 1950 Simpson was forced to resign as Captain of the 1st Carrickfergus Company, although his resignation was never accepted by members of the North Street Presbyterian Church Session. In 1953 Simpson was subsequently elected as a Stormont MP for Belfast Oldpark, a seat he held through until 1972.
With Simpson’s resignation 1st Carrickfergus broke up, and in 1952 the Methodist Church restarted the 1st Carrickfergus Life Boys, under the leadership of Alex McBride and Desi Curry, with the Boys of BB age meeting unofficially in a youth club type arrangement.
Also during 1952 North Street Presbyterian Church started their own Company, however, with George Jones, a member of the Methodist Church, having already gone to BBHQ, Belfast and reserved the 1st Carrickfergus designation for the Methodist Church, and in view of the fact that the 2nd Carrickfergus Company at Joymount was now up and running, North Street took the 3rd Carrickfergus name.
On 1st March 1954 the great American evangelist, Billy Graham, began a series of eight mega missions to Britain, at Harringay Stadium, north London, and one of these Harringay meetings was relayed to North Street Presbyterian Church, by land line. At this meeting in North Street, Samuel Murphy committed his life to God, and by way of service to the Church offered himself as Captain of 1st Carrickfergus. As a result the Company was reformed once again in September 1955, with Alex McBride, Edwin Jones and Desi Curry as officers.
New Company Colours were presented shortly thereafter, by JA Murphy and WC Jones the fathers of Sam Murphy and Edwin Jones respectively.
Sam Murphy captained the company for 12 years, from 1955 through to 1967, with 1st Carrickfergus enjoying what can only be described as it’s heyday (with large numbers of Boys achieving many sporting successes), before going on to serve as President of the East Antrim Battalion from 1974 to 1981. The link with local politics also continued with Sam Murphy being elected to Carrickfergus Borough Council in 1977, as a member of the UPNI, before being elected for a second term in 1981 as an independent Unionist. He served two terms as Mayor, in 1979 and again in 1984 and was made a Freeman of the Borough on 4th November 1986.
Sam Murphy was subsequently followed as Captain by Desi Curry, who served one session in this position, from 1967-68.
In 1968 six members of 1st Carrickfergus attended the inaugural meeting of the East Antrim Battalion, those being Desi Curry, Alex McBride, T Buick, Basil McDermott Snr, Lawrence Murphy; and Charles Caslake.
Also in 1968 Charles Caslake took over the reins, as Captain, with his daughter, Isobel Caslake, along with Suzanne Cooper starting the ‘Robins’, a semi unofficial Boys’ Brigade section for Boys aged 5 to 8, in/about 1968/69. Although popular in Northern Ireland, the Robins were not recognised officially by the Brigade nationally until 1978. During Charlie Caslake’s tenure as Captain 1st Carrickfergus started a bugle band, which was often seen on parade in the East Antrim Battalion area.
Charlie took a year out as Captain during the 1974/75 session and was ably replaced by Lawrence Murphy, Sam's son, during this period.
Charlie Caslake returned to post in 1975 and carried on through to 1980 when he was succeeded by Fred Rodgers, who had joined the Company as an officer in 1972, and who had been instrumental in the formation of the bugle band. After only two sessions in charge, however, Fred Rodgers moved on and the Church appointed Bryan Henderson as his replacement, in 1982.
Bryan Henderson proved to be a very popular Captain, but his captaincy was sadly brought to a premature end following a period of illness resulting in his untimely death. Fred Munce, a long serving officer in the Company, filled the Captains position during the following session, but, having received a call to the full time Methodist ministry, resigned after just one year in charge. After Fred's resignation Billy Payne, a Lieutenant with 5th Carrickfergus, (Woodlands Presbyterian Church) was approached about the captaincy.
Billy Payne went on to become the Company’s longest serving Captain, holding the post for 19 sessions from September 1988 through to May 2007, even though, in Billy’s own words, he only accepted the position ‘until someone better came along!’
The current Captain, Stephen Lindsay, who was appointed in 2007 following Billy’s resignation due to ill health, had joined the Company as a Robin in 1973, and had gone through the ranks under Captains Caslake, Rodgers and Henderson. Following graduation, employment took Stephen to Scotland in 1990, where he served with the 28th Aberdeen Company as a Lieutenant and more latterly as Captain. Having successfully merged the 28th with the 9th to form the 41st Aberdeen Company, Stephen's employment brought him back to Northern Ireland in 2004, where he rejoined 1st Carrickfergus.
During his time as Captain, Stephen has been keen to update and modernise the Company, helping to keep it relevant to the young people of today, whilst being sensitive to the values and traditions of those who have gone before him. In all things however Stephen strives to keep the objective of the Boys’ Brigade – ‘the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom amongst Boys’ – at the forefront of everything 1st Carrickfergus does.
The Company continues to meet each week on Tuesdays, in the newly rebuilt Carrickfergus Methodist Church, Albert Road.
(The Company would like to acknowledge the contribution of Donald Blair, East Antrim Battalion, in the compilation of this history and to thank him for for his assistance in checking the Battalion records to confirm dates.)
Any old photographs would be greatly appreciated for inclusion in our Photo Gallery
Image: Dedication of Colours 1955 (Old Hall in background)
Dedication of Colours 1955
Standing L-R: Alex McBride, Edwin Jones, Sam Murphy, and Desmond Curry;
Seated L-R: WC Jones (Presented Colour) FV Simpson (President) and J Murphy (Presented Colour)
Image: Wedding Guard of Honour 10th August 1957
Wedding Guard of Honour 10th August 1957
Mr & Mrs Desmond Curry
Left hand side L-R: Raymond Apsley, Christopher Wallace, Billy Edwards, Derek Hodgen, Charles Hilditch, Sam Sloan, Basil McDermott and Jimmy Wallace;
Right hand side L-R: Brian Henderson, Lawrence Murphy, Jim McCalmont, Harry Brown, Jim Close, Edwin Forsythe, Teddy McCracken and Victor Apsley.
Image: Samuel Murphy JP, East Antrim Battalion President 1974 1981
Samuel Murphy JP, East Antrim Battalion President 1974 1981 leading the Battalion Church Parade, with the 1st Carrickfergus Colour Party.
Image: Camp 10th August 1977 Southport
Camp 10th August 1977 Southport
Visiting Anfield, on the day Kenny Dalglish signed for Liverpool, were (from front row, upwards):-
Richard Leathem, Eugene Mulholland, Bruce Leathem, Davy Cochrane, Colin Craig, Paul Neill, Davy Reid, Stephen Alford, Michael Ross, Marty Haggan, Derek Milligan, Davy Ireland, Desi Curry Jnr, Alan Lee, Thomas Reid, Davy Daley, and Mo Stewart.
Image: Camp August 1977 Southport
Camp August 1977 Southport
(L-R) Harry Brown, Stephen Alford, Glen Nelson, Raymond Magowan, Desi Curry Jnr, Fred Rodgers, Richard Leathem, Michael Ross, Marty Haggan, and Bruce Leathem
Image: Camp 1978 Southport
Camp 1978 Southport
(L-R) Paul Neill, Michael Caldwell, Geoff McKinley, Alan Lee, Davy Ireland, Derek Bell, Desi Curry Jnr, Michael Ross, Keith Drummond, Thomas Reid and Mo Stewart
Image: Ayr - 1980
Back Row: Steven Reid, Peter Lindsay, Ivan Reid, Richard Reid (standing on wall), David Stevenson, Cyril Stocker and Marty Perry;
Middle Row: Paul McComb, unknown, Philip Holtam, Keith Drummond, Steven Strange, and Gary Greenfield;
Front Row: Marty Haggan, Stephen Lindsay, Jeremy Lindsay, Derek Milligan, and Gavin Young.
Image: Junior Section - Sept. 1980
Junior Section September 1980
Fred Rodgers seated front with Back Row: Sam Lindsay, Albert McKinley, Marty Haggan, Michael Ross and Miss Elizabeth Knox
Image: Fred Rodgers with the 1st Carrickfergus Bugle Band, circa 1980/81
Fred Rodgers with the 1st Carrickfergus Bugle Band, circa 1980/81
Image: Company Section Display March 1981
Company Section Display March 1981
Top: Representatives of the 1st Carrickfergus Parents & Friends Association - Mrs J Reid, Mrs T Drummond and Mrs D Curry - present Fred Rodgers, Fred Munce and members of the Company with a set of new drums;
Bottom: Presidents Badge winners: Ian Perry, Keith Drummond, Philip Holtam, Ian Wilson and Nigel McKinley
Image: Camp 1981 - Southport
Camp 1981 - Southport
(L-R) Jeremy Lindsay (indeed!), unknown, David Stevenson, Cyril Stocker, Paul McComb, Steven Strange (old man), Richard Reid, Peter Lindsay, and Ivan Reid
Image: Camp 1982 Southport
Camp 1982 Southport
(L-R) Stephen Lindsay, Richard Reid, Basil McDermott, Adrian McKinty and David Munce, with Ivan Reid lying.
Image: NI District Parade - 1983 (BB Centenary Year)
NI District Centenary Parade 27th March 1983 Belfast City Hall
(The centenary year of the Boys Brigade in the UK)
Image: Camp 1983 Ramsey (IOM)
Camp 1983 Ramsey
Clive Weatherhead, David Lindsay, Mark Kidd, a very fashionable Nigel McKinley and John Weir
Image: Easter Weekend 1984 - the Mournes
Easter Weekend 1984 - the Mournes
Fred Munce and Bobby Cooke
Image: Easter 1984
Easter Weekend 1984 - the Mournes
Some of the survivors!
Image: Junior Section Display - March 1988
Junior Section Display March 1988
Rev Duncan Alderdyce, Rev Trevor Kennedy, Alan McCann (Guest), Lt Stephen Lindsay, Mrs Jean Caslake and Charlie Caslake
Image: 1st Carrickfergus BB Company 1988
1st Carrickfergus Boys Brigade Company - 1988
Image: Company Section Display - 2002
Company Section Display - 2002
Image: Camp - Ganaway - 2008
Camp February 2008 - Ganaway
Youre not supposed to eat the balloons Joanne!
Image: Ganaway - Meal - 2008
Image: Ganaway - Climbing Wall - 2008
Dont let go of the rope Colin!
Image: Officers at rest - Ganaway - 2008
Its been a long hard day
Image: Good times! 1st Carrickfergus Company Section vs TOM20
13th January 2009 All Sections TOM (Team On Mission) visit.
Image: Display 2012
Image: Ganaway 2012
Image: Ganaway 2012
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebration - 21st August 2012
On Tuesday 14 August 2012, Members of The Boys' Brigade from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, accompanied by the Brigade President, The Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, met HM The Queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
The young men delivered a message of loyal greeting from the Members of The Boys' Brigade and received Her Majesty's gracious reply, which is to be read at Brigade Council, in London, in September. The Queen's message was given to the Brigade within a silver relay baton.
After leaving Balmoral Castle, Her Majesty's reply started its journey to London, via every Battalion throughout the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, carried by Members of The Boys' Brigade.
The baton being used in the relay was previously used in 1935 when The Brigade conveyed its greetings to Her Majesty's grandfather King George V on the occasion of his Silver Jubilee and again in 1951 to King George VI in celebration of the 'Festival of Britain'.
The baton has travelled through Scotland and Northern Ireland and is now making its way via the Republic of Ireland, England and Wales before finally reaching the Brigade Council Meeting in London on Saturday 15 September 2012.
Carrickfergus Methodist Church hosted the East Antrim Battalion event on Tuesday 21st August 2012.
Image: The BB Band on parade
Image: The BB raising funds with a car wash
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