Killyleagh woman appointed chair of Girls’ Brigade

Killyleagh woman appointed chair of Girls’ Brigade

9 June 2021

FROM the tender age of two, Tracey Davies took the Girls’ Brigade into her heart.

The current captain of Killyleagh GB and district commissioner, Tracey has just been confirmed as the new chairperson of Girls’ Brigade Northern Ireland.

She will be undertaking the leadership and administrative role for the next three years and it will sit alongside her other roles.

The 54 year-old will take up in September and considers the new role as a major honour after being in the GB for over 50 years. 

“It’s very much an honour for me as you are nominated for the role so somebody asked me if I would consider my name going forward and then it’s voted on by members,” said Tracey.

“The chairperson’s role is really to do with the business side of managing executive team meetings. I would be the first point of contact if anyone needed information at a Northern Ireland level and to ensure communication throughout all the districts.”

She realises that the time she devotes to the GB locally and regionally is going to increase.

“I suppose if you added up all the hours you would be a bit scared of how you spend your time,” she said, adding: “But I love the organisation. I have been in it for a very long time and believe it provides wonderful opportunities for our girls.”

Tracey, who is married to Tony and has a 24 year-old daughter Bethan, has lived in Killyleagh all her life.

She spoke of how she came to go to the GB at such a young age.

“I was only two when I started GB. My older sister, Pamela, started to go and I wanted to go with her,” she said.

“The captain at the time said that I could go as long as I kept up with the other girls. I’ve been in the GB ever since and went through all the stages as a girl before becoming an officer at 19.

“I moved to England for few years and joined the GB there. When I returned home, I’ve became captain of Killyleagh GB since 2006.”

Tracey believes that the captain was particularly understanding about her age as her mother Heather had been captain a few years before. 

While she works as an IT lecturer in South Eastern Regional College and knows just how young girls can sometimes get consumed by social media and screen time, Tracey says the GB and its activities “grounds” the girls.

“We have tried to modernise other the years and find that the girls really enjoy our activities,” she explained.

“What appeals to me about the GB is that it has very strong core values as a Christian organisation. But it’s always about teamwork, friendship, and fellowship, and that’s the same as a child or as an adult in the organisation. It’s just a constant organisation and is open to all girls from any Christian churches.

“It has a real sense of tradition and instills a sense of self in girls. We would hope that we would encourage confidence and self-worth in them.

“It’s one of those things that whatever it gets the hold of you, it doesn’t let you go. What appeals to me is that there are parents and grandparents bringing their girls to meetings that maybe attended with me when I was a girl.”

As Killyleagh is a very small company, it did not hold monthly meeting on Zoom like other companies during last year due to the pandemic.

Along with the other 22,000 GB members across Northern Ireland, Tracey is hoping that normal group activities will resume.

However, Tracey added: “It’s our hope that come September, we will be able to resume our regular meetings as normal but it all has to be risk assessed.”

She became district commissioner in 2017 and marked GBNI’s 125th anniversary by walking 125km visiting each of the 26 companies.