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Moved, Inspired and Excited

Tuesday 11th August 2015

Fifty Anchor Boy leaders were moved, inspired and excited when they heard a BB Captain tell something of his own story at a conference last autumn. The story deserves a bigger audience.

Colin Millar is Captain of the 4th Ards Company and is a BB man from top to toe. His father and mother were both Officers. Colin joined the Brigade when he was four, reached the rank of Staff- Sergeant, and has been an officer for thirty-three years. In itself that is a good story, but admirable as it is, it is not in itself an inspirational story.

What makes Colin’s story exceptional is the terrible experience which overtook him and the wonderful response to it. He was returning from an educational visit to China when he collapsed on the flight. He was rushed to the emergency room at Heathrow Airport and from there rushed to hospital. The hospital diagnosis was the deadly swine flu and pneumonia. His lungs had collapsed and he had stopped breathing. For the next three weeks he was in a coma and close to death. Meanwhile, large numbers all across Asia were dying of the disease.

Colin did not die. When he came out of the coma in the Royal Brompton Hospital, where his care was of the best, he had to learn to swallow, learn to walk and learn to breathe unaided. Eventually, he was flown home to Northern Ireland and the long process of physiotherapy and recovery began.

It is a very good story, but what makes it more than that, what makes it an inspirational story is the involvement of the whole community, including the BB community, in his recovery. In Colin’s own words ‘Throughout all this the local community were praying. Many things happened which showed me God’s hand in so many ways and people who clearly reminded me that the BB was where God wanted me to be.’

Whenever he recalls the darkest days of his illness there are some remarkable BB points he always makes: ‘Throughout my coma I always saw an anchor on the wall; the first card I was aware of was the card my Anchor Boy section sent to me; the night I came out of the coma beside my bed was an officer from a Company in London; when my wife played “Will your anchor hold?” as I lay in the coma my eye lids would flutter. ‘

All of us need stories like Colin’s story to give us confidence and faith. All of us need to be reminded of his words, whether or not we have had any experience as dramatic and powerful as his.

Keep your eyes and ears open over the summer; there may well be events and people who remind you that the BB is where God wants you to be.

The Very Reverend Dr Andrew McLellan CBE
Brigade Chaplain

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