David Gamble and Johnny Conn celebrate 100+ years service in Church Lads Brigade

Two Officers from the Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade in the Connor Diocese have chalked up more than 100 years of service between them.

David Gamble joined the Brigade in St Paul’s Company, Lisburn, in 1968. In the 1970s, he played on the Company’s successful football team which won the CLB League three years in succession. He represented the Ulster Regiment in cross country and athletics at National Competitions and set a Brigade record for the 800m in the late 1970s. He played the flute in the Company’s Marching Band.

David was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1980 and promoted to Lieutenant in 1984. From 1990 until 1994 he was Captain of the Company but had to stand down due to a work commitments. He continued to act as an Officer in the Company, right up to the present day, working with the Y Team, the section for 7 to 10 year olds. He was presented with a fourth ‘five year rose’ for his thirty years medal at a ‘virtual service’ by the rector, Rev Arthur Young, assisted by present Captain, Andrew Maze.

David Gamble and Johnny Conn celebrate 100+ years service in Church Lads Brigade
David Gamble and Johnny Conn who between them have chalked up 100+ years service in the Church Lads Brigade

Johnny Conn has been awarded the ‘Officers’ Service Medal’. He joined the Senior Corps of the Carnmoney CLB Company, Newtownabbey, in 1970. He also enjoyed the Brigade’s sporting programme and competed in handball, football and athletics competitions. For teaching in the Parish’s Sunday School, Johnny was presented with the Brigade’s ‘Church Service Award’ at a display night in the early 70s.

After attending Officer Training, Johnny was commissioned as Second Lieutenant, promoted to Lieutenant. He was Captain of the Carnmoney Company from 1977 until 1998, and in 1992, established a Church Girls’ Brigade unit for the Parish. With the help of an enthusiastic group of leaders, the Brigade in Carnmoney became strong and successful. He played the bass drum in the Company’s Marching Band.

Johnny also worked at Battalion and Regimental level. He was Publicity Officer under the late Harry Anderson, Ulster Regiment CO, and assisted the Training Officer organise courses. In 1991, he was appointed Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion. He recently did a second term as Publicity Officer under Melvyn Lockhart, the present CO, and has always had a passion to record the Brigade’s fascinating history.

You can find out more about the work of the CLCGB on their website here.