Funeral Details of Alan Watts BEM

The funeral of Alan George Watts BEM will be held on Thursday 24th March 2022. The funeral will consist of a service at Wesley’s Chapel at 11am followed by the Manor Park Cemetery & Crematorium, Sebert Road, Forest Gate, London, E7 0NP at 1:00 pm.

Alan gave a lifetimes service to the district and we owe him a debt of gratitude for all his work.

Alan served in the famous 5th London (originally at the Leysian Mission) as a boy (joining during the Second World War), an Officer and eventually Captain. He had, as a boy and younger officer, in the 5th, taken part in London District activities.

He first volunteered to be District Swimming convener, charged with the responsibility of organising the annual Swimming Gala. As a convener Alan was a member of the London Committee and subsequently, in 1972, under the Presidency of Sir Francis Lowe, Alan took over the role of Treasurer. I believe at the time, together with the National BB, the London District had an office in Abbey House a building in Victoria Street. The Brigade was probably at the height of its strength and the London District had well over 200 Companies formed into 25 Battalion.

With Alan as Treasurer, Gerald Walker, then the London Secretary and John Edbrooke the Field Officer, the London District moved with the National BB HQ to join the National Girl’s Brigade HQ to occupy an attractive modern building in the prestigious neighbourhood of Parsons Green. Alan steered the finances of the District, which with a central office and three full-time employees, was a demanding undertaking. This, for a volunteer and a busy Officer of the 5th, was amazing. To say nothing of the fact that, for much of the time that the District HQ was at Parsons Green, Alan held a top financial post in Shenfield which, meant when he had to get to District meetings in Parsons Green, he had to travel halfway across London.

He was the London District Treasurer and David Pickford (who had succeeded Sir Francis Lowe) was the London District President when somehow, I became the London Secretary in 1981, with actually little idea of what it might involve. But facing, in addition to the general District programme, the preparations and participation in the major events of the !983 Centenary, it was such a blessing to have Alan there with a firm hand of the financing tiller, and to be so readily available to give much needed support and advice. His financial guidance was so valuable when dealing with the costs involved in financing major events, such as the annual London District Display, then held each year for three performances, on a Friday/Saturday in May, at the Royal Albert Hall, and over the years many, many such major undertakings. We were so blessed to have Alan as a constant support for the District and its staff (which for 20 years included Margaret Hamps, who came as a secretary and was soon a BB Officer, Training Officer and shared with almost all the work).

Somehow, I remained with the District until 2006, during which time David Pickford handed over the Presidency of the District to Raymond Bray, then Eric Chilton, Mike Sparkes, Frank Smith, Sir Michael Craig-Cooper, and John Hughson. At my retirement Alan agreed to stay as District Treasurer for another year. Thus, amazingly completing some 35 years in that capacity. During all those 35 years, Alan saw that the finances of the District were maintained in a healthy state. How rare is it and how fortunate we were to have his expertise, enthusiasm and constancy. And what a comfort and support to always find a ready welcome by Alan to the home of the 5th both at The Leysian Mission and lately Wesley’s Chapel.

Richard Davies
6th March 2022

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