Old Boys rally to Greenfield Boys’ Brigade centenary call

POIGNANT MEMORIES from brigade camp and training sessions to football matches and pot-holing were fondly shared at a unique centenary event.

For a special service of celebration, thanksgiving and remembrance was held to mark one hundred years since of the founding of the 1st Greenfield Boys’ Brigade in December 1915.

Extra chairs were needed as hundreds packed out St Mary’s Church in Greenfield for the service, which included hymns, readings from Old Boys and the laying-up of the colours.

Then guests of all ages enjoyed lunch at Greenfield Conservative Club, where black and white photographs and memorabilia chronicling the brigade’s history adorned the walls.

Eric Harrison, who was in the brigade with his brothers in the 1940s, recalled marching under the direction of Tom Partington and looking forward to their annual trips.

He added: “It was a long time ago and I can’t remember everything – but I’ve seen a lot of people here I haven’t seen for years and it’s nice to talk over it all.”

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Fred Bottom with wife Pat, David Partington, Chairman of the Saddleworth Parish Council Neil Allsopp and chairman’s Lady Carol Allsopp, and Revd Barbara Christopher

Les Butterworth, who lives in Uppermill, was in charge of the brigade’s football team in 1977/78 – a role he enjoyed immensely despite their battle for success.

“We didn’t win at all for the first two years but we had a huge celebration at the church when we finally won for the first time!” he laughed.

When the brigade was disbanded in the 1990s, one of the officers Fred Bottom laid down the flag for the final time – and repeated the honour at the church service in November.

Fred explained: “More than 50 boys were involved but there were just not the volunteers to carry it on.

“It is lovely to see everybody come together today to celebrate and remember the brigade, even though it is not active here anymore.”

The event was organised by the ‘Old Boys Association’, which was set up by Chris Partington three years ago to share memories and renew friendships.

Chris was a member of the 1st Greenfield during the early 1980s as a boy and then as an officer, and today is part of the 5th Halifax Company in Elland with his son Thomas.

He followed in the footsteps of his father David who was captain of the company in the 1980s and his great-uncle Tom who was captain from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Find out more about the 1st Greenfield Boys’ Brigade on their website www.1stgreenfield.org.uk or find them on Facebook.


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