Brigade reach milestone birthday

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MEMBERS of a town Christian youth organisation are joining in the celebrations as the organisation reaches its 125th birthday.

The 1st Hartlepool Boys’ Brigade was founded in 1887 and is one of the oldest branches of the organisation in the country.

The town group was set up just four years after the very first brigade was launched in Glasgow.

Despite reaching the impressive milestone, the brigade has only had seven captains in that time - one of which was Fred Jacques, who later became the first mayor or the borough when West Hartlepool and Hartlepool were amalgamated.

Since being founded 125 years ago, and the first group being launched a year later, members have enjoyed the annual camp trip to Castle Howard, in North Yorkshire, every year other than a four year break during the First World War and one year which was cancelled during the Second World War.

Not to be outdone, members and leaders decided they didn’t want to let the Second World War affect their annual trip so used camouflaged tents.

John Cambridge, 67, a warrant officer, has been involved with the organisation for more than 30 years.

The dad of three, who lives on the Headland with wife, Ada, said: “I have been lucky enough to share some fantastic experiences with the members over the years.

“There have been thousands and thousands of youngsters who have been part of this boys’ brigade.

“People who were part of the brigade many years ago are still in contact now, that’s fantastic.”

Members of the brigade marked the occasion on Sunday with a ceremony in St Hilda’s Church, on the Headland.

John added: “It was a very nice ceremony, all of the members couldn’t be there, but it was excellent to mark the occasion in that way.”

The group is still going strong and meets at the Borough Hall, on the Headland, every Wednesday from 6pm during term time.

Youngsters aged from five to 18 are invited to attend and join in with the activities on offer.