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End of an era as Thatcham youth group closes

Boys Brigade holds last service after 58 years in the town

End of an era as Thatcham youth group closes

FIRST Thatcham Boys’ Brigade has hung up its colours for the last time, after 58 years in the town. 

More than 120 people, including former members and leaders, attended the service at Thatcham United Reformed Church on Sunday.

Company captain David Brazier said it was good to see so many people in attendance, including the mayor of Thatcham, Ellen Crumly.

Mr Brazier added that the leaders wanted the service to be “one of thanksgiving for the 58 years of service the company had given to Thatcham” and to remember those who had made the group so successful. 

The Christian youth organisation was formed in Thatcham by former Kennet School music master Walter Brisk and the group celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009.

But last month, Mr Brazier told the Newbury Weekly News: “It’s the end of an era.

“We can’t carry on because we just don’t have the leaders.

“It’s sad, but we are just grateful for the years that we have had.

“You’ve just got to know when the time is right – and it’s now.” 

The company colours were carried into the church by one of the boys, Jonathon Punshon, and received for the last time by company officer Tess Smith.

Memories of the company were recalled by Mr Brazier, former leader Mrs Smith, former leader in the company Iris Matthews, captain of 1st Newbury Boys’ Brigade, Roger Vogel and the company chaplain, the Rev John Lee. Mr Brazier then handed over custody of the company colours to Mr Lee, while Edwin Vogel of 1st Newbury Boys’ Brigade played the retreat. 

After the benediction and singing of the doxology, the Last Post was played by colour sergeant bugle major Simon Heaver of 1 Rifles, a former member in the company section in the 1990s.

Guests then looked at a display of photographs of the company over its 58 years in the town.

They also signed a visitors book to commemorate the occasion.

Mr Brazier thanked everyone who had helped in the organisation and planning of the service, which he said he hoped would “truly reflect the spirit of the Boys’ Brigade”.    

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