Boys’ Brigade celebrates 70th anniversary

SERVICE: First Burnley Boys' Brigade 70th anniversary service (S)
SERVICE: First Burnley Boys' Brigade 70th anniversary service (S)

SEVENTY years after the formation of the 1st Burnley Company of the Boys’ Brigade past and present members came together for a special anniversary service and celebration.

It proved to be a moving reunion for many of the older members and a chance for the boys in today’s organisation to hear how the company was founded all those years ago at the former Rosegrove Methodist Church.

SERVICE: First Burnley Boys' Brigade 70th anniversary service (S)

SERVICE: First Burnley Boys' Brigade 70th anniversary service (S)

When the church closed the company amalgamated and later moved to its present home at Greenbrook Methodist Church in Greenbrook Road, Lowerhouse, where a packed church took part in the anniversary service led by lay preacher Ian Wheeler and organised by the current company captain, Mrs Lyn Walsh.

Among those attending were former company captains Ken Halstead, Ken Tomlinson and Fred Hunt and the president of the East Lancashire Battalion of the Boys’ Brigade, Mr Geoff Smale.

An old brigade charter outlining details of the company’s founding in August 1941 was on display and those attending were also fascinated by a display of memorabilia and pictures dating back to the early days.

The charter states the object of the Boys’ Brigade as “the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom among boys and the promotion of habits of obedience, reverence, discipline, self-respect and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness”.

SERVICE: First Burnley Boys' Brigade 70th anniversary service (S)

SERVICE: First Burnley Boys' Brigade 70th anniversary service (S)

The organisation was founded nationally by Sir William A. Smith in 1883 and for decades has had a proud tradition in Burnley where members get together for drills, games, activities and regular church parade.

After the anniversary service the congregation enjoyed a fantastic buffet lunch provided by the captain, officers and members of the church and people had the opportunity to reminisce about old times.

The Brigade captain said the event had been a huge success and although no founder members were present there were many faces from the very early days who enjoyed the reunion.