Brigade’s birthday

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MEMBERS of a Boys’ Brigade which is celebrating its 81st birthday are encouraging past members and potential new-comers to join them at an anniversary open day.

The 4th Hartlepool Boys’ Brigade meets two nights a week at St Matthew’s Church Hall, off Elwick Road.

Youngsters enjoy a range of sports and activities at the sessions, including playing team games and learning new skills.

The group also goes on a number of residential trips.

The Brigade was first launched in 1929 when former captain Jim Thompson asked Stranton Church to make a branch.

A year later it was registered as an official company – and 80 years on, it is still going strong.

George Bainbridge, lieutenant, has been involved with the brigade for 44 years.

George, 54, said: “We must have had thousands of lads here over the years.

“There have been a lot of highlights even though the group has changed a lot since it was formed.

“It’s a fantastic milestone to reach.

“Although we are extremely proud of our past as a Boys’ Brigade Company we look to the future and we have a number of summer activities lined up including barbecues, numerous trips out and lots of games nights.”

To celebrate reaching the milestone, the group is hosting its own open night at St Matthew’s church hall on Friday, April 8 from 7pm.

People are urged to come along and have a look at the displays which the members have been working on. Past members are also encouraged to drop in to reminisce and look at old photos, videos and other historical items.

Jack Hanlon, 16, is a member of the brigade.

The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College student, who lives in Bishop Cuthbert with his mum Paula and dad, Terry, said: “I really enjoy being part of the brigade.

“It’s a great opportunity to enjoy playing games and sports with other youngsters, and some of the trips which we go on are fantastic.

“I would encourage youngsters to come along and join in. It’s always been part of my life.”

l For more information about the brigade, call George on 01429 263149, or visit www.4thhartlepoolbb.com.