Our National President is Margery McElhinney. Margery has been a member of Girls’ Brigade since she was 4 years of age when her mother took her to Miss Kathleen Pemberton’s Company in Clontarf – the 5th Company Clontarf Presbyterian. The reason Margery’s Mum brought her to the 5th was because she herself had been a member of the Grangegorman Club which was run by Miss Pemberton and knew her to be a wonderful woman and role model.
Margery went through the Candidate Section (which the Explorer Section was called in those days!) and then on through the Junior, Senior and Associate Sections and then completed her Officer’s training. She then taught the Scripture Class alongside Miss Pemberton and Vivienne Tackaberry which, again in those days, were held every Sunday afternoon in Howth Road school. Margery met her husband Harry, who was a member of the 32nd company Boys’ Brigade, and they married in 1970 and their son Graham was born in 1971. Notwithstanding this ‘big’ event Margery competed in PE competitions whilst expecting Graham and actually was on a winning team competing against Girls’ Brigade Northern Ireland. Margery also has a daughter, Karen, who was in the 5th Company too for many years who now plans to send her daughter, Georgia, (Margery’s Granddaughter) to the company in September.
Margery would say that her love of Girls’ Brigade has been with her from the day she started as a Candidate and that her Mum gave her the biggest gift she could ever have given her by enrolling her in the 5th Company, not only because of the absolute enjoyment she received from GB but most importantly the friendships she made from that tender age and which last to this day.
When Miss Pemberton retired as Captain of the 5th Company one of the Officers, Valerie Dagg, took over the mantle and Margery stayed on taking the Scripture Class on Monday evenings for a few years before coming back into the company as an Officer again, full time, teaching PE/Fancy Items alongside the Scripture, which was her first love. Then when Valerie retired due to pressure of work Margery took over the Captaincy of the 5th Company until she retired the year after the 5th Company celebrated their centenary, about 22 years later! Margery was then asked would she consider becoming National President as Mrs. Joan Darling was coming to the completion of her second term and retiring from the role. Margery said YES and the rest, as they say, is history.