Help us keep the brigade running

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An church has appealed for volunteers to help keep its Boys Brigade running.

St Thomas’s Church on Warrington Road called on residents to get involved and lend their support after revealing that their 50-year-old Brigade could disappear without the much-needed support.

Captain Gareth Hamlett is keen to keep the Boys Brigade’s strong presence in Ashton.

He said: “We’ve been involved in the community for over 50 years. We do various activities including walking days, picking up litter off the streets and general types of community work.”

The 39-year-old group leader came up through the Boys Brigade ranks from the age of six and earned the Queen’s Badge - the Boys Brigade’s highest honour - along the way.

At times he has seen upwards of 100 boys in its branch at any one time.

Now the church counts a more modest number of around 25 boys, but Gareth says new volunteers are still needed to keep things running smoothly.

“A few people have retired and a few people have left,” Gareth added.

“We have some younger helpers and officers, but their work schedules mean they can’t commit to every week. It’s difficult because we do everything in one night, every Tuesday.

“But if there is anyone who can drop in for an hour or two, that would be great.”

Gareth said the church is hoping to recruit five or six people to assist across a wide range of activities, from organising games to looking after subs.

He added: “You don’t necessarily have to be a member of our church, just believe in our motto and have good morals and principals in life.”

The Boys Brigade is one of the biggest Christian youth organisations in the UK, and was founded in 1883 in Glasgow by Sir William Alexander Smith.

The first voluntary uniformed youth movement in the world, it even counts Her Majesty The Queen as its patron.

Anyone interested in getting involved as an officer can contact