BACK in the 1950s the lads’ brigade had units all over the country.
It is still around as the Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade, although its prominence in the Huddersfield area has declined as other youth groups have grown and flourished.
But Norman Mellor from Meltham came across this old photograph of his days in the Netherton and South Crosland Church Lads’ Brigade. He was about 12 at the time and lived in Netherton.
He reckons the photograph was taken in 1948 or 1949.
The leaders on the photograph are Jimmy Peckett (top left) and Roy Jepson (top right).
Norman – who is pictured just in front of Mr Jepson – said: “I think I ended up joining because I used to pass Mr Peckett’s house and he persuaded me to join. You could only join if you attended church.”
Mr Peckett had flown on Lancaster bombers during the war until a crash brought his flying career to a sudden end.
“He broke his back and had subsequent health problems all his life,’’ said Norman, who is now 74. “He had to wear a corset to give him extra support.’’
Mr Jepson was a thespian, a founder of Honley theatre and produced plays there. Both men were involved with the church.
There are also identical twins on the picture – but they are at either end of the middle row with George Dodson on the left and Edward Dodson on the right.
“I could never tell them apart,’’ said Norman.
Two of the boys are holding trophies on the back row and Derek Lloyd (third right) was great at sports – particularly running and jumping. Norman said David Chappell (back row, middle) also did well.
The Lads’ Club met one evening every week.
“We played games in the church hall and school which have now been made into flats,” said Norman. “We also went on camping expeditions to Royd Edge at Meltham.
“But I got to the age of 14 and realised there were no girls in this organisation so I joined the youth club at Netherton Methodist Church which meant I went to one church on Sunday mornings and the other on Sunday afternoons.”
Norman is married to Vera and the couple have five children and eight grandchildren.
He has been chairman of Honley Male Voice Choir for 15 years and will step down from the role later this month. He also organises fundraising concerts for Yorkshire Cancer Research.
But he was back in Netherton and South Crosland Church last week staging a concert to raise money towards vital repairs for the church roof and the church also needs redecorating.
It featured Norman and singers Richard Cook and Diane Robinson along with pianist Phillip Baxter and raised £498.
The Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade is a Church of England youth organisation.
Its origins lie in the formation in 1891 of the Church Lads’ Brigade with its sister organisation the Church Nursing and Ambulance Brigade for Young Women and Girls – later the Church Girls’ Brigade, founded in 1901.
The two Brigades amalgamated in 1978 to form the Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade.
It takes members from five up to 21.