Carol’s reward for 40 years of dedication

AWOMAN who for the past four decades has helped children find a grounding in life has received an award. Carol Dutson, 63, has been recognised for dedicating 40 years to the Girls Brigade, a youth organisation that promotes Christian belief and behavio

AWOMAN who for the past four decades has helped children find a "grounding" in life has received an award.

Carol Dutson, 63, has been recognised for dedicating 40 years to the Girls' Brigade, a youth organisation that promotes Christian belief and behaviour in girls.

Brigade officer Carol has been captain of the 1st Letchworth Garden City Girls' Brigade and 3rd Letchworth Boys' Brigade companies after joining the brigade as a cadet at the age of six.

The Free Church hosted a celebratory service to congratulate Carol attended by the 2nd Letchworth Garden City Girls' and 1st Letchworth Boys' Brigade from The Central Methodist Church and dozens of former brigadiers who had travelled from all over the UK.

Carol, who lives on the Jackmans Estate in Letchworth GC, said: "It was a wonderful surprise - people had come from all over to the event."

Carol became a brigade officer in 1966 and eventually captain in 1975. She has also served at local, regional and national level in positions ranging from badge secretary and national executive member, which she regards as one of her biggest achievements, to her current role as commissioner for the Alban District.

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She said: "I retired in 1990 and came back a year later because they needed the help and I loved being with the children.

"My mum took me along to the group at The Free Church for the first time in 1951 because she was in the founding company. I always enjoyed being there and when I was about 23 I became an officer - it was the next step for me and I wanted to be a helper."

Carol, who has worked with hundreds of children over the years, said: "Some of my greatest memories are of weekends away at camp with the children, helping them find a grounding in life.

"I've also got some fond memories of when we performed at the Royal Albert Hall as part of a rally with other companies all over the world."

More recently the Girls' and Boys' Brigades have opened groups in schools.

"Apart from the uniform, which has changed a number of times, this has been one of the biggest changes," Carol said.

"We have also started running the Boys' Brigade again in Letchworth because the boys wanted to come with their sisters."

Sally Woodhouse, who runs the group at the Central Methodist Church in Letchworth GC, said: "Carol has been absolutely fantastic. She's been a driving force for the Girls' Brigade in our district.

"She's had so many jobs in our district over the years. She's a very warm and caring person who cares passionately about the children and she's always been there and done a great job."

At the celebratory event Carol was presented with a 40-year pin, a framed letter of appreciation from Girls' Brigade headquarters, a scrapbook of brigade memories, a bouquet of flowers and a specially designed cake.

l If anyone is interested in joining the group call Carol on 07721 392978. Groups are held at Letchworth Free Church and Letchworth Central Methodist Church.

For more information about the Girls' Brigade visit www.gbic.org

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