Boys Brigade Founder Celebrates 99th Birthday

May 2, 2014

On Sunday [April 27] the 1st Bermuda Company of the Boys’ Brigade saluted their founder Cecil Downs, who celebrated his 99th birthday on April 23rd.

Mr. Downs first joined the Boys’ Brigade in Ireland when he was eight years old, and started the Boys’ Brigade in Bermuda in 1960 after arriving on the island in 1958. He served as the Captain until 1986 when there were six Companies in Bermuda.

Mr. Downs was honoured in the 1986 Queen’s Birthday honours list with a Queen’s Certificate for his lifetime work with the Boys’ Brigade in Bermuda.

Mr. Downs & Brigade member John Norsworthy who share the birth date of April 23,  but 88 years apart:

Cecil & John

Today, there is only one Company with over 40 members presently, led by David Semos at St Paul’s Church under the Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Anthony D. Pettit. The Boys’ Brigade meet on Fridays in the Christian Education Centre in Paget.

The Bermuda Boys’ Brigade is part of a worldwide network that has been successfully operating children and youth programmes for 130 years.

The boys engage in badge work activities under the headings of Adventure, Physical, Interest, Leadership and Community. The Junior programme is called “Go for the Gold”. There are White, Green, Red, Purple and Blue badges leading up to three badges in Bronze, Silver and Gold.

The Seniors’ programme follows the Juniors and in fact is a continuance of the “Go for the Gold” programme with more indepth study under the same five main headings, which the boys find challenging and rewarding upon successful completion of their projects.

For further information please contact: Bermuda Boys’ Brigade First For Boys, phone 236 9349 / 334 9349 or e-mail:

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Comments (11)

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  1. Raymond Ray says:

    Obviously a great opportunity for those that are serving in the present day Boys Brigade to have met the founder and to celebrate,the 99 years of living with him :-) Congratulation and happy belated birthday Mr. Cecil Down.

    • Steve Biko says:

      I think de A.G can take a page out of his book he came through the ranks, Mr. Down would have never made derogatory remarks like de A.G. did !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BE PREPARED

  2. Terry says:

    I have known Cecil and his family for 55 years.
    His contribution and dedication has helped school and guide thousands of young men from all backgrounds in Bermuda.

    A great and humble man. Regards to him and his family.

  3. Steve Biko says:

    One of the nicest White men I interacted with when I was growing up, very inspirational.

    • Awesome says:

      Thank you so much Mr. Downs for your positive contributions to so many young Bermudian men. He epitomizes what the traits of a true Bermudian are, even though he was not born here. Peace and love to all.

  4. Balanced Facts says:

    The man is an inspiration and helped so many young men over the years! Happy Birthday Mr. Downs

  5. Heidi says:

    Congratulations Mr. Downs – you have helped many young men and women on the island!

  6. Kiskadee says:

    Happy birthday Cecil from all your Irish friends in Bermuda. You have done so much for the youth here and I am sure they have grown up to be good citizens with your guidance .

  7. Paterson Bana says:

    Mr. Downs, you are a great man and the Lord will continue to make you great even at His right hand of grace. Keep fit. We praise you even here in Nigeria.