THIS year’s recipient of the prestigious Andrew Smyth Award is Irene Duthie, who has spent almost a life-time dedicated to the 2nd Forfar Company Boys’ Brigade.
Irene was joined by her husband Bill, daughter Pamela, son and daughter-in-law Billy and Lynn and their children Scott and Laura for the presentation in the Canmore Room, hosted by the Andrew Smyth Memorial Award Committee, on Monday evening.
The award for Forfar’s citizen of the year was made by Derek Smyth, nephew of former Provost and long-serving councillor Andrew Smyth.
After a brief resume of “Andra’s” career from Bill McLeod, Helen Blacklaws revealed who the 2012 winner was, explaining Irene’s involvement with the B.B’s started when she was aged only four.
The company was formed by John Ritchie in 1946 and Irene’s father, Dick Dundas, was in charge of the Lifeboys.
When Irene left the Girls Brigade aged 15 she became a helper of the Lifeboys and at 18 became a Warrant Officer. She did her officer training in 1962 and helped her dad until he retired in 1980. She stepped in as O.I.C. Junior Section when David Anderson became Captain of the Company. In 1988 Mark Wilkie became Captain and when he resigned in 1997 Irene took on the role of Captain.
She is involved in all three sections of the Company and can be found in the B.B. Hall on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. She is also heavily involved in the ever popular summer camps which started at Glen Prosen Hall, before moving to Glen Ogil and now Scott Lodge in Glen Doll.
Commenting on the camps Irene said: “There are many more home comforts in the lodge but this in no way detracts from the fun/camaraderie and friendship to be found there. I think I speak for most of the many, many boys over the years who have experienced B.B. Camp - absolutely great!”
She also spoke fondly of the re-unions in 1996 and 2006 when “old boys” were welcomed back, and stories of boys who go on to get jobs because their C.V. said they had been in the Boys Brigade, or when a soldier says the B.B. taught him “discipline, drill and uniform”.
She said: “I followed my Dad into B.B. and my children are now following me. Pamela has become an officer working with the Anchor Section and grandson Scott is now and Officer in the Company Section. Along with a husband and son willing to help at any time.” She thanked the Andrew Smyth Memorial Award Committee and the person, or persons who nominated her adding:“It is a great honour and I will really cherish this always.”
In the vote of thanks, Angus Councillor Glennis Middleton said: “We are blessed to have so many people who give unstintingly of their time. Forfar would be a much poorer place without the whole raft of people, many who are in the room this evening.”