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A trip down memory lane

I’ve been indulging myself with a project that combines three of my favourite things - photography, social history and, of course, Girls’ Brigade, writes Sally Claydon.

The GB group I grew up in recently celebrated its 90th birthday and, as with all special occasions, there was cake and a display of old photos. 

Over the years we’ve always said how great it would be to write a history of the group, complete with photos of summer camps and memories of leaders and girls.  Various trips down memory lane have had us trying to work out which song went with which seaside town camp in which year. Well, finally I’ve taken the bull by the horns… or rather I’ve plugged in the scanner.

My mum, who led the group through the late 80s and 90s, handed me an array of photo albums and I now realise where I get my record-keeping skills from. Careful notes had been made of the names of each girl and leader from each camp, which is just brilliant now that we’re trying to match names with faces.

We’ve created a Facebook page and I’ve gradually been adding photos to it, watching with interest as ‘old girls’ are tagged and comments made. It’s lovely to think that the photos can be shared and safely stored in cyberspace. Meanwhile we’re able to look back and reflect on all that being part of a GB group meant to us. Friendships and maybe faith too can be rekindled. One lady sent a message through to say how much she appreciated seeing the pictures as she didn’t have any photos of her own childhood. 

As I look back at the various summer camps in particular, it’s amazing to think of all the life lessons learnt during such a time. From sandwich making, to leading a group of younger girls to managing pocket money and taking a turn on the stage at the camp concert, so many skills shared and experiences had.

Of course our greatest wish is for all the ‘old girls’ to have grown up with the security and assurance that faith brings. We’ll never know what has become of so many of them, but as well as many going on with their Christian faith we’ve spotted three ordained ministers. It’s a brilliant legacy to the women leaders who have gone before us, working so hard to provide week in, week out activities for generations of girls.

Sally Claydon is Girls’ Brigade team leader at 1st Hawkwell group and a GB Development Worker in London, based at Hawkwell Baptist Church, Rochford, Essex. She is writing a regular column about the Girls’ Brigade for The Baptist Times.
Catherine Burt, 26/11/2013
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