Girls' Brigade moves with the times but holds its values dear

This Friday marks a very special occasion for The Girls' Brigade locally as the 92nd Glasgow Company in Bishopbriggs marks its 40th anniversary.

And the group is urging all former captains, officers, helpers and girls who have been members to go along to a reunion in Cadder Church South Halls for a buffet dinner and reminisce over the last four decades.

Louise Beattie is the fifth captain to run the 92nd Company.

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She said: “The Company was brought together by Rev. Jack Beaumont.

“In 1976 he called a meeting to see if anyone would help start up a Girls’ Brigade Company.

“The local Girl Guide Companies had a huge waiting list and there was obviously a need for something in the area.

“This was backed up by the fact that the fairly new 212th Boys’ Brigade in the church was running very successfully.

“Margaret Redpath was dedicated as Captain and the company was officially affiliated in January 1977.”

The company started with juniors (P4-P6), before expanding to include Explorers (P1-3), Seniors (P7-S1) and finally Brigaders (S2-S6).

Louise said: “The Company grew to 20 officers and about 100 girls.

“This was too much for one hall so the two church halls were used at opposite ends of Bishopbriggs.

“Uniforms had to be bought which cost us £100. That was quite a lot of money back in 1977!

“And the uniforms weren’t new either – they were ex-police ones but they looked very smart.

“I’m sure they all looked great marching from Meadowburn Primary down to Cadder Church with the Boys’ Brigade for services.”

Although the Company was young, it took part in as many local and national competitions as possible.

Among these were a Girls’ Brigade singing event, collage, maze marching and even travelling to Aberdeen to compete in a swimming competition in 1983.

The company also did a great deal of fundraising, including coffee mornings and jumble sales.

Much of that was to pay for buses to take the girls to competitions as well as their annual trip to the Pavilion pantomime.

The girls were, and still are, a very active part of the local community, taking part in the Burgh of Bishopbriggs gala days for many years.

The marching band was another popular activity. Every Sunday afternoon, girls went to the old granary in South Street, Partick, to practice.

Louise said: “They would return home freezing cold and white from the flour.

“But the band was very successful and one of its best drummers, Gillian Melvin, is actually now a Lieutenant in the 92nd.”

One thing the company prides itself on is being very much a family group.

Its five captains have all been well supported at home by their husbands, daughters and sons.

Louise said: “It is a huge responsibility but there is history and tradition behind me too.

“The basis of what goes on in the company today is not that much different from 1977 when a group of mums – who thought they were just going to help – volunteered to be a part of this new venture which became the 92nd.

“A lot has changed in The Girls’ Brigade over the past 40 years but we continue to enter competitions, albeit there are not as many now.

“This year we had a virtual dance competition where we filmed the girls and the video was judged. Explorers and Brigaders won the event.

“We also still go to camp. It is maybe different now but the girls enjoy themselves just the same.

“And we still fundraise and have the traditional GB coffee mornings.

“We also still go to the pantomime and have activity days or nights out climbing and tubing at the ski centre.

“Sadly, the marching band is no more but, who knows, we may resurrect it at some point.”

Looking forward to the next 40 years, Louise said: “My hope is that the Company will continue to move with the times but I know the principles and values we hold dear will remain the same.”

The reunion starts at 7.30pm this Friday (June 9) and tickets are £10 each.

* Founding captain Margaret Redpath was at the helm from 1977 to 1987 before handing over to Marjory McInally who steered the ship until 1994. Isla Dick then took over before Moira Menzies captaincy from 2001 to 2004.