Newtongrange Girls’ Brigade had a great time celebrating its 100th birthday late last month.
National president of Girls’ Brigade Scotland, Mrs Jennifer Major, presented a special certificate to Company Captain, Mrs Linda Anderson. The girls, parents and guests enjoyed a buffet tea followed by a fabulous party disco.
The Company (originally the Girls’ Guildry) began in 1917 attached to Newbattle United Free Church. The first Guardian (leader) was a Miss Lily Mackay. The Company met in the hall behind the church (now the Masonic Hall), lit by gas and heated by coal fires. There was at that time about 100 members.
In 1935 the new hall/church was opened in Sixth Street and eventually the Company moved there. The Girls’ Guildry flag was embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework in London. The girls all contributed clothing coupons as this was necessary to provide the bunting. This flag is now laid up in the church. Since the 1940s approximately 1400 girls have passed through the Company and lifelong friendships were made.
In 1946 Miss Annie Allan became Guardian of the Company and Captain retiring in 1993 after 53 years as an officer in the Company. Miss Allan received an MBE for her services to the Girls’ Brigade. Mrs Helen Knight succeeded Miss Allan as Captain.
In 1966 the Girls’ Guildry became the Girls’ Brigade with new uniforms and a new flag which was dedicated in the church. Also in 1966 two girls June Walls and Maureen Macrae gained their Duke of Edinburgh Award and in 1972 Linda McIntosh represented Scotland at a Fonamarae (a gathering in Maori) in New Zealand. Over the years girls have taken part in national displays in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin. One of the officers of the Company, Mrs Joan Slight, also received the MBE for services to Historic Scotland and the Girls’ Brigade.
Over the years girls have has great times camping at the Girls’ Brigade House at Ninemileburn, caravan holidays at Berwick and special trips to Disneyland Paris and Legoland Windsor.
The Company meets in Newtongrange Church Hall every Tuesday at 6.30pm and the girls enjoy, games, crafts, singing, baking, gain badges and lots more but most of all they have a lot of fun followed by the tuck shop at the end of the night.
The Company is also holding a special lunch for past members in the Dean Tavern on Sunday, October 22. Menu forms can be picked up at Newtongrange Library.