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Gordon continues to set the gold standard for Buckie BB

By Alan Beresford

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DEVOTED and dedicated are words which can often be overused, but there are occasions when they are by far the most apt description of a person’s service to a cause.

Junior section leader Gordon Pirie, who has been with BB for 65 years man and boy.
Picture: Eric Cormack
Junior section leader Gordon Pirie, who has been with BB for 65 years man and boy. Picture: Eric Cormack

There surely cannot be more worthy destination for these terms than Gordon Pirie, who has spent a staggering six and a half decades of his life helping generations of boys and young men get the best start in life through 1st Company Buckie Boys’ Brigade.

His trademark self-effacing modesty belies a life-long commitment to the BBs which has set many on the right path in life.

Joining in 1955, the Company was still in the early stages of its existence, having been founded only eight years before in 1947.

It was, Gordon reflected, a very different society to the one facing the boys joining today’s Boys’ Brigade.

“A lot of my friends joined up so I went along and joined up, too,” he continued.

“It’s probably difficult for boys today to imagine but one of the reasons a lot of us joined was because it was something to do.

“In the 1950s we didn’t have video games or Gameboys, things like that, they weren’t even dreamt of.

“Of course, being in the BB then was a very different experience in many ways. The discipline was a lot harder than is the case these days.

“I remember the squad competitions we had. They were great fun but were very competitive, it was cut-throat to win then them.

“Looking back I have to say it all stood me in good stead for the rest of my life, there’s no doubt about that at all. I took a lot away from it, things like self-discipline and respect.”

After having worked his way through the ranks, becoming an officer seemed like a simple, natural progression for Gordon.

A few years later, in 1967, he was to take on the role with which he has become synonymous with generations of boys, and their parents, too – leader of the Junior section.

He said: “It’s been great seeing generations of boys go through the ranks and on to adult life, some of them becoming BB officers as well on the way.

“Hopefully I can pass on some of what I’ve learned and that their experience with BB stays with them.”

Gordon’s love of sport has also helped the boys develop success on the football field in recent years, although it was not always the case in the early years in the national five-a-side tournaments at both Scottish and UK level.

“I started with the football sides years ago, first of all with Alan [McIntosh, Company Captain] and now with Malcolm [Smith].

“I’ve been up and down the country with the teams and it was great meeting so many people from other Companies across Scotland.

“In the early years we seldom won a game but later on we started getting boys who were also playing for clubs outside the BB and we began to win trophies.

“Wherever we went, win or lose, the boys were always great ambassadors for Buckie.”

Both the junior and senior squads have made their mark on their respective age group tournaments. The seniors have lifted the Scottish trophy three times in the last six years or so, also claiming a runner-up slot during that time period, going on to prove tough opponents at UK level.

The juniors have also punched above their weight and made their presence felt at the Scotland-wide level.

Both squads have earned a place as big-hitters alongside their long-time rivals from Dundee.

Gordon’s fellow coach Malcolm said: “Gordon is always there keeping us all calm and is always recognised and respected by the various Companies we have encountered over the years.”

In 2006 Gordon’s dedication to the BBs and other services to the wider community was to bring its own reward when he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. Typically, he spoke of his shock at being considered for such an honour.

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