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Company History - p3

Popularity and Expansion

By the end of the first year membership shot up to about 40 members. Life Boys' was so popular in fact that a waiting list had to be introduced.

Camp group shot from the Archives During 1966 some members of 3rd Basingstoke's Life Boys' had already reached the maximum age of 12 and so company Captain Peter Waite founded another group for older boys, thus the company officially took on the name 3rd Basingstoke Boys' Brigade.

With this expansion more members of staff were needed to cope with the growing numbers.

Wally Brown • In September 1966 22 year old W/O Walter Brown from Elizabeth Road, Attwood Close and then Ochil Close came on Board. Wally, as most people know him, stayed with the 3rd on and off right up until 1991 and he was the Band master for most of this time. Walter was promoted to Lt. in November 1967 and became Captain in the 1980's. Wally and his Wife Margaret would have four children and all the members of the Brown family would be involved with the company over its history. Sons Marc and Martyn joined Boys' Brigade and stayed right up to adulthood becoming Officers themselves. Both daughters Sue and Amanda were members of 2nd Basingstoke Girls' Brigade Company. Both Margaret and Sue have been officers in Boys' Brigade over the years.

Bob Crouden • At the beginning of 1967 30 year old Lt. Robert Crouden from Denham Drive, a church member, joined in to help out and remained an officer with the company until the 1980's, including a full 15 years in the role of company Captain. Bob is the longest serving Captain in company history and guided the company through the 1970's and early 80's to great success. Bob sent the following information through to me:

"I joined the Brigade on my 12th birthday in the 1st Hayes Company, Northwest Middlesex Battalion of the London District. Appointed Warrant Officer on 23/06/1956 at the time of the first swap with the Danish FDF (Boys Brigade) whilst serving with the RAF. I then moved from Royston Herts to Basingstoke in late 1966. I became Lieutenant on 1/6/1967 and appointed Captain on 9/9/1969. I was served by a tremendous staff, both male and female, young and old, and much was achieved by all in the Company and Community. Julie, my wife gave her full support to my involvement and together we owe a debt of gratitude to all in Basingstoke for their loving and formidable support during those years. Thank you."

There were a few other people who gave up their spare time and joined as officers in the Sixties such as Samuel Woodhall from Worting Road, John Hardy from Challis Close and Adrian Boghurst from Austen Grove. 1968 also saw a new Minister Rev. Graham Whistance.

By the turn of the decade the company had become very popular and membership had climbed to well over 70 members.

The BB Sections take shape

3rd Basingstoke BB Company - 1983 For the first few years 3rd Basingstoke ran as both a Life Boys' group for 9-12 year olds and a Boys' Brigade company for 12-18 year olds. Life Boys' were affiliated with the Boys' Brigade, but in 1968 BB council voted for the Life Boys' to fully merge with the Boys' Brigade and at a later date were renamed the Junior Section with the ages brought down to 8 and 11 years old respectively to match the school curriculum. The older age group took on the moniker of Company Section, with an older age group of 15-18 within the Company section known as Seniors.

3rd Basingstoke BB Company in the church hall 1972 brought a new age group into the Boys' Brigade family, BB would now accept members between 6 and 8 years of age. This section was originally called Pre-Juniors but was also known as 'The Imps'. This section would go on to be officially called the Anchor Boys' and the entry age reduced to 5 years old.

This company structure has remained in place to this day.

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