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Lifelong youth worker involved with Boys' Brigade and Scouting

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George Toombs, who has died following a short illness, was a lifelong youth worker in the Lisburn area and was awarded the BEM in 2013 for his services to young people through the Boys' Brigade and the Scout Association. He was 84.

Mr Toombs lived formerly in Carryduff and in Leicester Avenue, Lisburn, and latterly at the Hammond Farm housing development at Maghaberry.

He joined the 1st Lisburn BB Company in 1973 and was Captain from 1980 for 17 years until his retirement from the post.

Current 1st Lisburn Captain David Cleland said: "He was a true gentleman, always thinking about others before himself."

Geoff Baird, who succeeded Mr Toombs as BB Captain, said: "He was way ahead of his time. The BB is a very traditional organisation, but he was always very clear that the BB was for the boys. That was his big focus."

Mr Toombs was also well-known in Scouting. He was a member of the Ballymacash and Eglantine troops, and he and his brother Joshua formed the Annahilt troop in 1946.

Mr Toombs was for many years a teacher at Larkfield High School, Finaghy, specialising in woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing.

He was keen on motorcycling, car mechanics and canoeing. He and his brother were members of the Canoe Association for Northern Ireland, and he was a senior instructor with the British Canoe Union for 30 years.

He was a dedicated Presbyterian, formerly a member of Carryduff Presbyterian Church, and a long-time member of Railway Street Presbyterian, where he had been an elder.

His son Ronnie said: "He was always there for us and he supported the family in all that we did. He was an adventurer, like his brother, and he was one of the really good guys."

He is survived by his wife Anna, Joshua and sister-in-law Mabel (Anna's sister), as well as his children Ronnie, Sylvia and Joan, niece Jill, and grandchildren Gareth, Rebekah, Claire, Zander and Lucy.

A service of thanksgiving was being held today at Railway Street Presbyterian Street, Lisburn.

Alf McCreary

Belfast Telegraph

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