90 years of Girls’ Brigade

Captain Ana Bates looks through some of the scrap books and photo albums the brigade has accumulated over the years
Captain Ana Bates looks through some of the scrap books and photo albums the brigade has accumulated over the years

PAST and present youth group members can celebrate together as the 1st Hartlepool Girls’ Brigade reaches its 90th birthday.

More than 100 people, from current members aged as young as five to women who were first involved back in the 1920s, will come together for a day of celebrations later this year.

Thousands of girls have been involved with the brigade, based at the Borough Hall, on the Headland, since it was launched in 1922 and now leaders are hoping to get as many as possible under one roof.

Current captain Ana Bates will lead a parade at the Headland before a service and an afternoon catch-up to mark the milestone.

The event isn’t taking place until Sunday, April 22, but Ana is wanting to give people as much notice as possible in the hope of attracting dozens of faces from the past back to the brigade for the day.

“We have had thousands of members over the years and I have tried to keep in contact with as many of the girls as possible,” said Ana, 63, a retired cleaner and office worker who has been involved with the brigade since 1961.

“Obviously it’s impossible to keep in touch with everyone, and it’s especially difficult when girls get married and there is no way of tracing them.

“Anyone who has been in the brigade is welcome along, it will be lovely to look back and find out what everyone is doing now.”

All 55 current members of the brigade will take part in the parade and service and Ana says she has already had an impressive response from Hartlepool and beyond.

The mum-of-three who lives on the Headland with husband, Barry, 63, a retired brewery worker who also served in the army, added: “One of the past members who now lives in Switzerland got in touch and told me she wants to come along which is fantastic news.

“We have hundreds of photographs from the past which will be on display throughout the day.

“It will be brilliant for past members to have a look through some of the fantastic memories.”

The Girls’ Brigade meets at the Borough Hall every Monday night from 6pm-8.30pm.

The youth group is aimed at youngsters aged from five to 18 years old.

As well as the weekly gathering the group also enjoys regular trips away and an annual camp.

For more information about the anniversary celebrations or the brigade call Ana on 07722154809.