Hundreds of smartly-uniformed youngsters packed into Bradford Cathedral for a special St George’s Day service to celebrate a triumphant 12 months yesterday.
A year ago it was feared that the annual parade, the biggest in the Scouting calendar, would have to be cancelled because of issues due to police no longer marshalling it – but this weekend’s event was the biggest for several years.
In honour of England’s patron saint, 600 Scouts, Cubs and Beavers proudly marched from Centenary Square to the Cathedral behind Queensbury Scout and the Halifax Boys Brigade bands after what has been a boom year for the city’s Scouting movement.
Bradford received Government cash to push the positive attitude created in boys and girls by being in Scouts, Guides, Cubs and Brownies.
The £100,000 funding for the i-Scout Project has helped open 27 new Scouting units in the city’s most deprived and struggling areas.
Deputy District Commissioner Alison Watson (Bradford South) said volunteers and Bradford Council staff had helped and it had been a fantastic turn-out.
“There was a problem last year, but this year it’s bigger and better than ever,” she said. “Scouting is up 18 per cent in Bradford and today has been a real success on one of Scouting’s biggest days.
“We had about 600 in the Cathedral and all the seats were taken.
“It always gets me a bit emotional when I hear them all singing the Scout Hymn.”
Natalie Howard, Deputy District Commissioner (Bradford North), agreed it had been a memorable day.
“When I turned round on the march and saw all the flags and bright colours, it was just superb,” she said.
Bradford Lord Mayor Councillor Khadim Hussain attended the service led by Canon Sam Corley and which began with the appropriate hymn, All Things Bright and Beautiful.
He said: “It is very important to mark the national day and to recognise the work these organisations do in passing on the right attitudes and life skills to children in our communities.
“It very much fits in with my own theme as Mayor which is all about diversity and inclusion – and that is what we see in the young people here today.”