DELIGHTED Bradford girls were among 100 Brownies who went to Downing Street to celebrate 100 years of the organisation.
During the ‘Big Brownie Birthday’ event, the Brownies gave Prime Minister David Cameron a tiny taste of the range of activities they enjoy including archery, giant games, plate spinning and armpit fudge.
Members of the 62 Bradford Brownies and 1st ETS Brownies were among those who enjoyed the occasion .
Brownie Leader Shagufta Sharif, who has set up 15 new Guide and Brownie packs in Bradford, in areas where the movement has not previously had a presence, said: “I was dumbstruck when we went in – and so were the girls. But my favourite part was seeing the reaction of people when they saw so many Brownies together – I think they all wanted to be part of it!”
During the party, each of the Bradford Brownies wrote down her hopes for how girls’ lives will change in the next 100 years. These ranged from the serious – such as girls should be treated the same as everybody else, and that everyone in the world should have enough food – to the more imaginative, like a cake with 55 layers of chocolate, a ride in a flying car, and a trip to Mars for the Brownies.
The birthday wishes were gathered in a special book to be kept by Downing Street so that visitors, dignitaries and decision-makers can view the girls’ wishes for years to come.
Brownie Alisha Khan, aged nine, said: “The party was amazing. It was very loud and noisy and there were loads of people. My favourite bit was when I did archery. I got a bull’s-eye!”
Hannah Gill, seven, also from Bradford, said: “My favourite bit was playing with water balloons and getting wet.”
Amber Iqbal, aged ten, said: “It was really cool, and it feels amazing to be chosen to be one of the 100 Brownies there.”
Mr Cameron said: “I’m delighted to be celebrating the Brownies’ 100th birthday in Downing Street.
“Being a Brownie is about having fun, being adventurous and learning a huge number of skills from watersports and cycling, to science experiments and crime prevention.
"But at the heart of what it is to be a Brownie, is the promise to give back and serve others. In this centenary year Brownies have been volunteering across the UK as part of the Big Brownie Birthday Badge Community Challenge. Happy 100th birthday and here’s to another great 100 years ahead.”
He was full of praise for the dedication shown by the Brownies and Girlguiding’s 100,000 volunteers to giving girls all over the UK a head start in life, whatever their background and circumstances.
Brownies is part of Girlguiding, the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, with 553,633 members. About 100,000 volunteers enable them to carry out their good work as they aim to give girls and young women across the UK a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their communities.
By Robert Brown