‘He was one of life’s really good guys’

George Toombs BEM.
George Toombs BEM.

Tributes have been paid to the long-serving former captain of 1st Lisburn Boys’ Brigade, George Toombs BEM, who passed away yesterday.

Mr Toombs, who served as captain of the Railway Street Presbyterian Church BB Company from 1980 - 1998, was 85 years old.

George Toombs BEM (centre) was captain of 1st Lisburn BB from 1980 - 1998. He's pictured with his successor, Geoff Baird (left), who served as captain from 1998 - 2013 and current captain David Cleland.

George Toombs BEM (centre) was captain of 1st Lisburn BB from 1980 - 1998. He's pictured with his successor, Geoff Baird (left), who served as captain from 1998 - 2013 and current captain David Cleland.

A former teacher, the father-of-three was a dedicated and hard-working leader in the Scouts and later the BB. He was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2013 Queen’s birthday honours for services to young people through the Boys’ Brigade and the Scout Association.

Reacting to the news of Mr Toombs’ passing, current Company captain David Cleland posted on the 1st Lisburn Boys’ Brigade Facebook page: “It is with heavy hearts that 1st Lisburn BB has learned this evening of the passing of our Company President Mr George Toombs BEM.

“On behalf of the boys and staff, both past and present, we extend our heartfelt sympathy to Mrs Toombs and the rest of the family circle.

“Mr Toombs loved the Boys’ Brigade and was passionate about the object of Advancing Christ’s Kingdom among boys.

George Toombs with boys from 1st Lisburn BB meeting Her Majesty The Queen.

George Toombs with boys from 1st Lisburn BB meeting Her Majesty The Queen.

“A true gentleman, humble at all times and always thinking of others before himself.

“He reflected Christ in all that he did. He will be sadly missed.

“Our loss is Heaven’s gain. He has gone to be with Jesus.”

Geoff Baird, who took over from Mr Toombs as Company captain in 1998, described him as “almost like a second father.”

Mr Baird said his predecessor had brought his considerable Scouting skills with him to the Boys’ Brigade.

“He was way ahead of his time. The Boys’ Brigade is a very traditional organisation, but he was always very much that the Boys’ Brigade was for the boys, and that was his big focus.

“He was a great Christian man, a brilliant family man and he had a great heart for young people because of his faith,” Mr Baird added.

“He was just one of life’s really good guys.”