25th Teesside BB Company

The 25th Teesside BB Company is part of St Thomas’ Church of England Church, Gurney Street, New Marske, TS11 8EG. It meets on Thursday evenings except for school holidays & the captain is Robert Brownbridge.

The New Marske BB Company was stated to be formed in 1963 but there are references to a 10th Anniversary Evening in 1968, meaning the company actually started in 1958. The discrepancy is thought to be because the company started as a Platoon of the 21st Teesside Company based down the hill at Marske by the Sea & it was only in 1963 that it became a separate company in its own right.

The New Marske Company was formed and led by Frank Gilbert as Company Captain. He retired from this position in 1974, although he remained in contact for a many years afterwards. Barrie Pearce then led the company through to the late 80's when he stood down. In this time Barrie saw the transition from meeting at the old tin hut which at that time was the church hall; this closed & following a period at the old infant school we moved to the new St Thomas Church hall building. Steve Simmons then led the company through to 1995 when Robert Brownbridge took over.

The company has always been involved in sporting activities not only within the Battalion but also at District level & further afield. One of the main activities of the company from its early days has been hiking and taking part in the Cleveland Hike in June every year. In the Cleveland Hike the company has won several trophies as highest placed local team eventually winning the event in 1990 for the first time in about 30 years of trying. The company was also one of the original teams taking part in the Border Hike run by the then 3rd Gateshead and the Kilbryde Hike run by the 4th East Kilbride which we won in 2000. This Scottish hike is still supported by teams from New Marske BB.

In the many years of BB in New Marske there have been a significant number of boys as well as officers through the ranks. Of the early members still actively linked with the Company there is John Cartwright, Joan Foulkes and Steve Stairmand.

The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013.

If you would like to know more about our company or can pass on any information on our history please contact Robert Brownbridge at 01642 514845 or email here or come along to the Church hall on a Thursday evening after 6.00 pm.

The Company is split as follows:

Anchor Boys (School years 1 -3) - meets Thursdays between 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm
Junior Section (School years 4 – 6) - meets Thursdays between 6.00 pm. and 7.30 pm
Company Section (School years 7 +) – meets Thursdays between 7.30 pm and 9.00 pm

Teesside Battalion Annual Founders Day & Dedication Service.

Celebrating 50 years of Boys’ Brigade in New Marske.

20th October 2013

The address given by David Morris

On behalf of the 25th Teesside I welcome you to this service of dedication and celebration. It is good to see many old faces along with new young members of the Boys Brigade in this place.

Those of you who can recall a New Years day morning may have stumbled on a TV address “Urbi et Orbi”, to the City and to the World. It is the Popes New Year message. Well, I am hardly a Pope, but as a retired BB Officer and Queens Badge convenor it is my privilege to address you today.

There are three themes:
Firstly, to celebrate 50 years of this Company.
Secondly to acknowledge the new spirit of mission that is alive in the Battalion and,
Thirdly on this Founder Day to give thanks for 130 years of the greater BB movement.

50 years ago New Marske was quite a different place. It was a schedule D village, which could be run down or even demolished. The iron mine in the hills had closed – the last of the iron mined is outside of this church. And it was the then Vicar of New Marske, the Reverend Ronnie Firth, who had the vision to set up a BB Company - the 25th Teesside. Help came from the established company in Marske. The driving force being one Frank Gilbert, who is in his 91st year and send his best wishes, (holds up the card), “remembering all now have passed through the ranks in the last 50 years”, Frank & Colin Gilbert--- Old Boys. We met in a leaky tin hut that had seen better days, in a field. I remember one Confirmation Service involving Officers and boys,when the mice got in and had first go at the buffet!

The Captains of this company have brought rich and different insights into the running of Parade Nights and our Officers have been a real strength. It is good to see Joan Foulkes, Mick Brotton, John Cartwright with us today and to remember Ken Atkinson among others. But this companies’ activities were quite often outwith of this place, with fond memories of our annual camp; exhausting and occasionally triumphant hikes across the North York’s Moors. Not just the famous Cleveland Hike, but successful forays over the Border to Kilbride. I am sure it was the missionary work of the 25th Teesside that brought so many Scots teams to the Cleveland. Trouble was that those wiry Picts were super fit winning many, (some would say too many), times!

For over 30 summers there was a pilgrimage to our “Field of Dreams” at Scalby. The Scarborough camp is remembered with huge affection by generations but not perhaps the last one when we were washed out!

One highlight of camp latterly was the Friday night fish supper, when officers were despatched to collect 40 pre ordered cod and chips. It fell to myself and one Paul Fishburn, a Queens lad, to collect the harvest of sea and land. But on arrival at the chip shop they had no record of the booking. No matter, despite a huge Friday night peak holiday queue they would set to it. The queue wailed with one accord ‘oh no we will be here all night!’ Problem was we had gone to the wrong chip shop! On arrival back at camp the lads were scoffing course one which had been delivered and were not too disheartened, after a week of spam & beetroot, to find out that their fishing boat had come in for second time. And Paul Fishburn – he now runs an arm of a merchant bank in Sydney. Our Queens men have generally gone on to successful careers. Parry Jones is a director of a printing company in London. He became a dad last week and is a benefactor of this company. Our Captain recently visited James Riley, an accountant in Singapore.

But there is one young man, John Curry, that we remember with special affection. He went straight from this company to the Coldstream Guards, saw service in Northern Ireland, but lost his life. His name is on our colours which were presented in his memory by his grateful family.

I urge the members of every Company to stick with it and as you grow older go for these awards rising to President and Queens Badges which will make a huge difference to your Life and Work.

We have also played a part in the Teesside Battalion. There was some debate whether we should take our Anchors Boys to the Founders Day Parade as in those days we marched from the Cenotaph to Linthorpe Road Methodist Church and back again. But we had a double decker bus which we were sharing with Marske, so there was plenty of room. So much room that nobody noticed we had set off minus our Anchor Boys, who were left shivering with an anxious Ena Holloway and Archie Geddes. We hit Marske, before any one twigged!

In our Battalion there are not just green shoots of recovery but a promise of a very garden, with new companies in Lingdale and Hemlington and firm hopes of even more. Much of the credit for this is due to Emily Atkinson development Worker, ably supported by President John Moore and Secretary Jake Dale. This Company has greatly benefited from their support both practical and financial; which enabled us to run a successful Family Day for the whole village in July; although our Captain was nearly ripped to shreds by the Police dogs! This was in some ways an echo of the Carnival Sundays we used to hold with the Band marching through the village and the much loved Hill Race started by the 25th taking place.

It is also very satisfying to see other companies getting recognition such as Philip Dawes and Nathan Hawkins in the 16th obtaining a Presidents’ Commendation and in the 17th for their splendid win in the Top Team Challenge. Congratulations are due to Oliver Wheeler in the 17th for achieving his Queens badge.

It is fitting too that we recognise the sterling leadership qualities of Robert our Captain, who with strong family support has given so much to this Company while holding down a position that requires international travel. Well done Rob.

Community events are a pointer to future progress – a great recruiting tool, and a message to our youth, that we are a progressive people centred organisation. If there is an international dimension such as our connection to the Danish Boys Brigade or hiking and camping in Scotland that can only benefit the boys we are there to encourage and to serve. Todays’ reading; the very last words of Saint Matthews Gospel is called The Great Commission, when Jesus as our Captain instructs his disciples to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We as a Battalion have already started our own commission to advance His Kingdom using new thinking and strategies to win the harvest of young minds. So at this time when we celebrate our Founders vision with the establishment of the 1st Glasgow Company in North Woodside 130 years ago we give thanks for all who have served this good cause-- “Urbi et Orbi”; remembering its origins in a city who motto is “Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the word”. So let our companies flourish. Finally, when I spoke to Frank Gilbert last week he gave me one bit of advice which I leave with you now “Put on a good show and the benefits will follow.” Well our show is up and running and on the road to pastures old and new.

Where to find us.