A Co Tyrone man has been honoured in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for his 54 years service to the Boys’ Brigade and to his wider community.
Jim Emery was awarded the BEM, Medallist of the Order of the British Empire, for his BB service at First Castlederg Presbyterian Church.
The retired footwear sales representative, aged 71, has also devoted many hours as a local historian of times gone by in his own community.
However, it was primarily for his time with the BB that he was recognised.
“The BB is very much part of my life, I have seen hundreds of boys go through it,” he said.
He has held the rank of lieutenant in his local company since 1963.
“Many of our boys have won the BB’s highest honour, the Queen’s Badge, which is similar to the Duke of Edinburgh awards,” he said.
Although he has seen the uniform simplified, the system of earning badges on a huge variety of topics remains unchanged and instruction in the Christian faith is still integral, he said.
Mr Emery has taken his boys on 43 annual camps around the British Isles.
“The BB makes a tremendous contribution to the community, many of the boys later go to job interviews wearing a Queen’s Award or BB badge.
“Certainly a boy who has been in the BB has discipline, our objective is to steer them into manhood.”
Another significant part of his contribution to his community, he said, was his role as a local historian.
He has written a history of his BB company and co-wrote three volumes of general history of the area with Canon Harry Trimble, as well as two volumes on the impact of World Wars I and II on both his community and church.
A former chair of Strabane District Council, having been a UUP councillor from 1989 to 2011, Mr Emery is also standing down this year after six years as county grand master in the Orange Order.
Meanwhile, the order’s overall Grand Master, Edward Stevenson, has congratulated those members of the organisation who were recognised in the honours list.
Among the Orangeman honoured, he said, were Wrightbus chief, businessman William Wright, who received a knighthood for services to the economy and also Mr Emery. A number of other members also received accolades.
Mr Stevenson said: “I would like to congratulate all those members of the Orange fraternity who have been recognised at the highest level for their service and contribution to wider society. First and foremost, it is a tremendous personal achievement and will no doubt be an extremely proud moment for recipients and their families.”