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FOND FAREWELL: Hundreds attend service for former Croxley Boys Brigade captain

 Published on: 6th April 2024   |   By: Sophia Sheera   |   Category: Uncategorized

Dozens of former members of the Croxley Green Boys’ Brigade Company attended a service in memory of late resident Colin Abbiss, who passed away in February.

Colin, who was born in Croxley and lived in the village all his life, was a founding member of the 2nd Croxley Green Boys Brigade in 1951, at age 12.

After three years’ service with the RAF, Colin became the Boys Brigade’s captain in 1965. He continued to attend meetings until a month before his passing on February 19, 2024.

A thanksgiving service in Colin’s memory was held at Croxley Green Baptist Church on Friday, March 15. His widow, Rhiannon, had expected around 150 guests to attend the service, but in the end around 250 people came, including representatives from each of the decades for which Colin captained the company. Six current members of the brigade asked for permission to leave school early in order to attend the service.

Colin was born in Croxley in 1939 and attended multiple local schools, eventually leaving Durrants School at the age of 15. Around the same time, he and Rhiannon met at the Croxley Green Baptist Church youth club and started dating. They were married at the church in October 1965, the same year that Colin became the captain of the company.

According to Rhiannon, the 2nd Croxley Boys Brigade had been set up in 1951 to give local boys like Colin a sense of purpose.

She recalled: “Some of the local boys were a bit unruly and needed a bit of discipline drummed into them. Colin himself didn’t really like school and went from job to job until he eventually joined the RAF, which sorted him out.

“Colin’s strength as captain was that everyone knew he’d been a bit of a lad, and all the boys respected him because he’d been one of them. He was their friend as well as their captain.”

In later life, the boys took to calling Colin ‘Mr A’, a name that stuck with him until his death. Seven years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, Colin passed away at home peacefully, cared for by Rhiannon and their daughter.

Colin was a lifelong member of Croxley Green Baptist Church. In recognition of Colin’s unique service to the village’s young residents over his 58 years of service, the church has asked permission from the local council to plant a commemorative tree at Stones Orchard.

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