TWO lifelong leaders of the Moncrieff United Free Church Boys Brigade have announced they will be stepping down from front-line duties.

John and Eileen Forrest have been part of the 26th Stirling (Alloa) Boys Brigade Company for 60 and 40 years, respectively, but will be retiring from their positions at the end of August.

This comes amid a period of change for the Boys Brigade company, with the announcement that the group will be relocating to Ludgate Church when Moncrieff Church dissolves next month.

John has served as company captain for almost 60 years since 1966, having joined the Boys Brigade in 1955, a year after the company was formed.

His wife, Eileen, currently serves as officer in charge of the Anchor Boys and Junior Section, holding this position for almost 40 years.

Reflecting on their decision to step down, John says it has been a “privilege” to lead the Boys Brigade and see people achieve great things after leaving.

He said: “It has been a fantastic privilege to have so many boys come through the company in the time that I’ve been there.

“It’s great to see boys coming in, sometimes quite young, and maybe lacking in confidence but then seeing them mature and make their way all the way up through the company.

“It’s an honour to see boys achieve the Queen’s Badge which is the highest award in the Boys Brigade. We’ve had a number of these over the years.

“It makes you feel quite proud to see these guys go on and achieve so much in their later life.”

As the heads of the company, John and Eileen would oversee three sessions every week from Easter to summer, before and after Christmas.

On top of this, John would lead bible class every Sunday at the church. The Boys Brigade would enter various sporting competitions and John would occasionally lead the events.

The couple have overseen a number of trips across the globe to Denmark, Belgium and the Czech Republic, holding immense responsibility over a Boys Brigade group on holiday.

For his work with the company, John has been shortlisted for the Citizen of the Year Award three times and it is thought that he is one of the longest-serving Captains in the history of the Boys Brigade.

“It will be quite a change,” John added. “I suspect I will somehow still be involved in some sort of way, but just not front line.

“The Boys Brigade has been a very big part of my life, especially since I became captain.

“I don’t know how to feel about it. It’s not going to be easy but it’s been an honour.”