Spalding youth group of 83 years is under threat

Members and leaders of 1st Spalding Girls' Brigade at the town's United Reformed Church.
Members and leaders of 1st Spalding Girls' Brigade at the town's United Reformed Church.
  • Alternative bonfire party to help save URC Girls’ Brigade
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The 83-year history of 1st Spalding Girls’ Brigade could end this year unless new members join up.

Leaders of the group, based at Spalding United Reformed Church (URC) in Pinchbeck Road, are hosting an ‘alternative bonfire party’ on Tuesday, November 8, from 6pm until 7pm to try to attract new members.

Sisters Amy-Ann (16) and Genevieve Stokes (10) are the only members of the group which joined other brigades from the area for a Battalion Parade at Spalding URC on Sunday.

Amy-Ann said: “Girls’ Brigade is something different to do and it’s quite nice to be attached to something that has a name.

“I’ve been going since I was four and it’s made me able to communicate my opinion more and I’ve learned different things as well.”

Genevieve said: “I enjoy it quite a lot, even though it’s quite hard to do things as I’m one of the only people there.”

I’ve been going since I was four and it’s made me able to communicate my opinion more and I’ve learned different things

Amy-Ann Stokes, 1st Spalding Girls’ Brigade

Leaders could decide the group’s future in December and captain, Julie Lunn, said: “We’ve taken school assemblies, given out leaflets and even taken out a newspaper advert.

“But we don’t have young families in the church that can send their children to the Girls’ Brigade, so we’re having an alternative bonfire party on November 8, with candy floss, doughnut making and games.”

The Girls’ Brigade was founded in Ireland in 1893, 10 years after the Boys’ Brigade was set up in Scotland as the first voluntary, uniformed youth movement in the world.

A buffet evening to mark 1st Spalding Girls’ Brigade’s 80th anniversary was held in 2013 when one of the guests was past captain Elsie Bright, awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2004 for services to young people.

Mrs Lunn said: “We’ve always had quite a strong group of girls but if we don’t pick up any new members, we’ll have to look at closing the group.”