[Skip to Content]

22 July 2011

Dedication's what you need

Dedication's what you need

10 dedicated Girls' Brigade volunteer leaders from the Portsmouth area have clocked up nearly 340 years of service between them.

Their mammoth achievement was marked at a special retirement service and celebration on Sunday 17 July at Waterlooville Baptist Church attended by fellow leaders, family and friends. 

Girls' Brigade (GB) groups all over England and Wales provide rewarding, stretching and positive opportunities through which around 15,000 children and young people, between the ages of four and 18, grow and develop in confidence and skills in a Christian environment led by volunteer leaders.

The retirement service was attended by the National Director of GB Ruth Gilson. She said: "Leadership that has endured is an amazing thing. We can only guess at how many children and young people's lives have been influenced in some way by the leadership of these 10 women. They will have been inspired to grow in faith and also given the confidence and skills they need in their daily lives."

The 10 women were:

  • Pam Stone, 65, of North End, Portsmouth, who has served as the Solent District Chaplain for eight years and is continuing to do so.
  • Carol Latham, 68, of Buckland, Portsmouth, who was an auxiliary helper and then leader in charge at 1st Portsmouth GB for 15 years. She is continuing as a helper in the same group.
  • Daphne Laycock, 65, of Emsworth, who has been the leader in charge at 1st Emsworth GB for 25 years and who is going to continue in the role for one more year.
  • Sara Bennett, 59, of Stubbington, who has been a GB leader in several groups, including the former 1st Bridgemary GB, for 29 years.
  • Beryl Martin, 67, of Portsmouth, who has been in GB for 37 years including 17 years at 1st Emsworth, where she is currently an auxiliary helper.
  • Diana Bolton, 67, of Portchester, who has been a GB leader in several groups, including 1st Portchester, for 36 years. She is continuing as an auxiliary helper in 1st Portchester and as Solent District's Treasurer.
  • Beryl Feben, 69, of Paulsgrove, who has worked at 1st Wymering GB for 38 years as a leader and six years as an auxiliary helper, a role she still holds.
  • Betty Taylor, 92, of Portsmouth, who has served GB for around 70 years - the majority of which have been spent at 1st Portsmouth GB. Until April this year she was still attending the weekly meetings of the group.
  • Hilary Nichols, 64, of Denmead, who started the 1st Bedhampton GB and has served GB for 34 years.
  • Maureen Cawte, 64, of Cowplain, who became a leader at 2nd Leigh Park GB in 1966 - 45 years ago - and took over as leader in charge in 1984. Maureen has also been in charge of all the groups in the Solent District since January 1985 and will retire this September.
  • Beryl Feben said: "The special thing about GB is that it's like a second family, which is really lovely."

Daphne said: "GB has been a very good friend to me through the good times and the bad. It's been a privilege to serve the girls in Emsworth."

And Hilary Nichols added: "Our celebration service was an absolutely wonderful afternoon and it was great to share it with all these other people. It's been an honour to serve GB and I'm sure it will go on for centuries to come in whatever form."

Anyone wanting to find out more about GB can visit the national website www.girlsb.org.