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Forewarned is forearmed
Year: 1983

I joined the Lifeboys in 1964. At that time the Company was just getting back on its feet after a rather lean spell when membership of the company section had dwindled to single figures.

Even then recruiting went in periodical spasms. Quite often the Company’s success or failure has hinged on the ability of one boy to project his own interest in The Boys’ Brigade so well as to attract others and maintain that attraction for a number of years.

Other local companies have over the last 19 years had one period of, say 5 years, where that one boy has put that company up above the general abilities of all the other companies; some companies have had a similar period where one boy’s skill has put them streets ahead in one sport or other activity.

In my opinion, few companies can boast the success shown over all their endevours as that achieved by the 92nd since it got “back on its feet”.

Even so, it took a considerable time before we had anything to show for such a concerted effort.

Martin Winter started his company section life, Richard Matthews and I joined in 1968 following a glut of new talent in 1967 which was to form the nucleus of the company section for several years to come and has evolved into 70 per cent of today’s staff.

In the early 70’s we had still to make our mark in local events (we did get bowled out for 9 by the 90th at cricket!) but the company was at its strongest for years.

There was no need to stress “brotherly love”, we were choc-a-bloc with brothers:

The Browns (John and Allen)
The Reas
The Winters
The Crosses
The Cases
The Rains
The Hunts
The Browns (Alan and Steve)

and later on The Hacketts
The Greenslades

and today The Finches

We were happy together and stayed together and that was the secret of the ensuing success.

When we won the Battalion Table Tennis Trophy it felt so good that it was, I’m sure, mutually and subconciously decided that this should be perpetuated. The progress and sucess became part of your membership code and we held a virtual stranglehold on that trophy even until today where we are only just overshadowed locally by the 181st.

If it were just Table Tennis wherein lay so great a passion for winning then I should concede that we were just another single-minded club having our “golden years”.

The gold was certainly there but the nuggets were hidden in different parts of the river.

When Peter Cross showed us how to win Battalion Cross Country runs and Charlie Isaacs taught us to use top-spin in table tennis we just couldn’t help but to listen and do better and so gained a 4th place in the London Cross Country and reached the quarter final of the National Table Tennis Trophy.

Allen and John Brown started off well in the Duke of Edinburgh’s and helped push their proteges to three gold awards from Prince Philip.

The mid-1970’s brought along Dean Hall with his own brand of skill and application. His contemporaries, people like Dave Adkins, Dave Klauber, Ray Bruton, Vip Patel, Mark Greenslade and others engendered a new level of cpmpetition which was highlighted by their domination of London cricket.

Even then the 92nd wouldn’t rest on it’s laurels; we’d been involved in 3 Albert Hall Displays in 5 years, the Band was doing well at Battalion and District levels and a touch of class had filtered through – the Grammar School boys actually shone and won a round of the Top of the Form!

The last five years have seen the continued growth in all these fields more table tennis, cricket, cross country and swimming victories plus coming second in the National Top of the Form.

My particular pleasure is to see the current crop of seniors having come the full distance being given a more responsible role in the formulating of plans for development.

The cut-off age at age 18 has always brought a few mumurs of discontent from those not chosen to be staff.

The Boys’ Brigade is, of course, a youth organisation but we have in the past said goodbye to a few loyal friends just at the time when they needed our continued support.

It was to avoid such a cut-off (not having another organisation for over 18’s in the parish) that the Old Brigadonians Footbal and Cricket Clubs were formed. Another football team is planned next season to include the current seniors who have enjoyed some exclusion from regular Parade Night activities with an idea to laying down policy for coping with what will again be a small company (say 15 boys) from October 1983.

This is not an obituary.

It merely serves to illustrate the full circle of Boys’ Brigade life and how well we have coped and will cope in the future.

The Brigade as a whole may change rapidly on the surface and we shall adapt according to our specific requirements. If we are aware of the problems and confident in our structure then there need be no fear for the future of the 92nd.

Written by Michael Streeter

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