Real Lives: Alison honoured for 30 years helping guide girls

Lieutenant Gavin Friday presents Alison with her certificate
Lieutenant Gavin Friday presents Alison with her certificate
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Celebrations have been held to honour Alison Black as she marks 30 years’ work with the Salvation Army and the Brownies.

Last month the time she has spent as a leader and guider of the 1st Prestonpans (Salvation Army) Brownie Pack wAS honoured with a special event organised by the Salvation Army and attended by friends and family, as well as members of the local Guiding Association.

Alison is taking the praise and recognition in her stride, seeing them as part of a long journey.

“I’ve always been involved in the Salvation Army, ever since I was a child,” said the 49-year-old office worker and mother of two.

“I always remember the welcome and the happiness during those early years,” she adds. “And Guiding is a job I enjoy doing, even after all that time. The old feeling of welcome is still there.”

Alison says the years she has spent with the Salvation Army and the Brownies have a personal significance.

“I originally came as a junior soldier when I was about 12 years old and then I became a senior soldier at the age of about 25,” she recalls. “It’s about my faith and belief – that’s what kept me going over the years.”

Alison says her leadership role has grown slowly but surely. “I’ve always been at the Brownies, ever since I was about seven,” she remembers. “I then took over the Brownie unit when I was about 17 or 18, in time to take part in events in London celebrating the royal wedding of Charles and Di. That was some experience.

“The Brownies recently had their centenary celebrations and it was fantastic Guiding the kids and seeing them getting on and getting to know them.”

Alison notes her efforts as a Salvation Army Guider have become a family affair.

“You’re also training people. That’s a huge part of it,” she says, “I’m currently training a couple of people, one of whom is my daughter, to help get their warrants.”

Alison’s years of service with 1st Prestonpans (Salvation Army) Brownie Pack were celebrated last month with a ceremony which included a look back at highlights of her years of service, a certificate of appreciation handed over by Lieutenant Gavin Friday and a cake.

“This is a remarkable achievement and it was entirely fitting that it should be celebrated in this way,” says Salvation Army Major Christine Bailey.

“The number of people who attended is testimony to the influence that Alison has had over many girls throughout the past 30 years.”

Alison says she had no idea she was about to be honoured. “It was a big surprise. I didn’t know anything about it – it really was a big shock. But a lovely surprise as well.

“It’s a voluntary organisation so you’re giving your time freely. But it’s nice to be recognised for the work that I do.”