THE Mid-Ulster Battalion of the Boys’ Brigade recently spent their 58th annual camp at Kirkham, Lancashire, the Headquarters and Training Centre of the North-West District of The Boys’ Brigade.
The main party arrived at the well-situated site on Saturday afternoon and over eighty Boys, Officers and friends enjoyed a marvellous week’s fun and fellowship in reasonably good weather.
The Companies represented at this year’s camp were: 1st Caledon, 1st Castlecaulfield, 1st Castledawson, 1st Cookstown, 1st Culnady, 1st Dungannon, 1st Maghera, 1st Magherafelt, 1st Moneymore, 1st Stewartstown and 1st Tobermore, and of course Mid-Ulster Battalion camp would not be the same without our friends from 1st Loughbrickland and Dromore in the County Down.
Church and Devotions
Sunday morning saw the entire camp attend Kirkham United Reformed Church led by the Battalion colour carried by Mark Gillespie, under the C.O. Gordon Watterson. We received a very warm welcome from Rev Stephen Collinson and the congregation. In the evening everyone joined together to worship on the Campsite in a Service conducted by our Camp Chaplain, Rev. Nigel Kane.
Each day, the Camp Chaplain, assisted by other Officers, conducted Morning and Evening Prayers. The Gospel message was clearly presented with Mrs Andrea Fulton and Mrs Heather Lennox leading the praise on the Keyboard. These Devotions and all the activities of the Camp were upheld at the Prayer Meeting, which was held each evening before bedtime. During the week all Campers donated a very generous total of £381 for B.B. missionary work.
The daily routine of camp ran smoothly with the 7.45 am reveille ensuring everyone was up to prepare for tent inspection and most people asleep by mid-night. During the week the Boys participated in inter-tent sports competitions in football, volleyball and table tennis. This year, an “Olympic Challenge” was added to the activities, as well as an “Olympic Quiz” which was designed by Christians in Sport.
After lunch on Monday, the coach transported all the campers to Sandcastle Water Park in Blackpool where all the Boys enjoyed the numerous water slides. Tuesday saw all of the Boys and a number of Officers go to Manchester where a tour of the Etihad Stadium was arranged which included an opportunity to take some photos of the Premiership Trophy. Following this “once in a lifetime” experience for all our Man City fans (well, there was one!), the Boys had an opportunity to do some shopping at the Trafford Centre. On Wednesday afternoon the Boys visited Blackpool and that evening they participated in an outdoor LaserTag game. On Thursday all of the campers headed off to Manchester to visit the National Cycling Centre. This included a tour of the Velodrome, where some of the Team GB track cyclists were preparing for the Olympic Games, followed by an opportunity to participate in BMX cycling on the International BMX track. The highlight of the week for many was Thursday evening when the party attended the Olympic football match at Old Trafford between Team GB and Senegal. Despite a somewhat disappointing game resulting in a 1-1 draw, everyone enjoyed being present at such a memorable event. Friday was spent at the nearby Blackpool Pleasure Beach where everyone enjoyed the numerous rollercoasters and other attractions.
The various inter-tent competitions were all taken seriously, although great sportsmanship was evident throughout the week.
The prestigious Tent Inspection Competition resulted in a very high standard all week. Tent B emerged as eventual winners and tent commander Alan York (1st Magherafelt) collected the J.I. McMenemy shield which was presented by Miss Tiriana Brush. The other tent members were Matthew Miller (1st Stewartstown), John Bruce (1st Culnady), Joe Stewart (1st Castledawson), Christian McMullan (1st Dungannon), Richard Baird (1st Loughbrickland) and Christopher Stevenson (1st Loughbrickland). Tent E came a very close second in the Tent Inspection Competition.
The sports competition was won by Tent E under the command of Andrew Gillespie (1st Caledon). The other tent members were Paul Booth (1st Magherafelt), Joshua Atkinson (1st Stewartstown), Alexander Megaw (1st Loughbrickland), Max Buller (1st Loughbrickland), Jack McCullagh (1st Castledawson) and John Stewart (1st Castledawson). Runner-up in the sports competition was Tent C commanded by John Henry (1st Tobermore). The other tent members were Jack Lees (1st Stewartstown), David Baird (1st Loughbrickland), Luke Courtney (1st Castlecaulfield), Peter Sleith (1st Loughbrickland), Andrew Hawe (1st Castledawson) and Matthew Young (1st Cookstown). The individual personality awards in each of the sports went to John Henry (1st Tobermore) for Football, Philip Gillespie (1st Caledon) for Volleyball and John Stewart (1st Castledawson) for Table Tennis. All the sports prizes were presented by Miss Susannah Doupe .
Tent D commanded by Samuel Hawe (1st Castledawson) were deemed to be the best Orderly Squad. This Tent also included Matthew Megaw (1st Loughbrickland), Samuel Murray (1st Culnady), William McCullough (1st Cookstown), William Fegan (1st Loughbrickland), Glenn Hughes (1st Magherafelt) and Stephen Farmer (1st Dungannon). Miss Lynn Mullan presented the prizes.
The Voyage Home
On Saturday morning sad farewells were said to Kirkham. The tired but happy campers reached Mid-Ulster late on Saturday with a host of memories about enjoyable events and time spent with old and new friends to treasure for a lifetime.
The Battalion would record its thanks to all those who made Kirkham 2012 another outstanding B.B. camp and in particular to Mrs. S. McMenemy (Moneymore) who provided each camper with a mineral to accompany their Sunday Lunch and our excellent Ulsterbus Coach Driver for the week, Mr Peter Lennox.