The Boys’ Brigade Celebrates 140 Years of Youth Work

The Boys’ Brigade (BB), a Christian youth organisation which provides opportunities for children and young people to learn, grow and discover, celebrates its 140th anniversary today.

Founded in 1883 by Sir William Alexander Smith, BB was the first voluntary uniformed youth movement in the world. In fact, many of today’s organisations for young people can trace their roots back to The Boys’ Brigade. To mark the milestone, The Boys’ Brigade will be planting an oak tree to commemorate the life and legacy of its founder in a special ‘Heroes of the Faith’ woodland which is being created on the outskirts of Birmingham.

The Heroes of Faith woodland is part of the same site where the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will be built.

Richard Gamble, Founder of Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer commented: “We’re delighted that The Boys’ Brigade is sponsoring a tree to be part of the Heroes of Faith woodland. The tree celebrates the legacy of its founder, Sir William Smith, and over 140 years of this wonderful organisation rooted in the Christian faith.”

At a local level, BB groups across the country are celebrating the anniversary in different ways. Activities include a live ‘Monopoly challenge’ for young people in London, Glasgow, Manchester and Aberdeen, as well as a national sleepover.

Jonathan Eales, Chief Executive of The Boys’ Brigade added:

An oak tree seems a particularly fitting way to celebrate our founder’s vision for a Christian youth organisation which started in Glasgow but grew across the UK and around the world.

As well as a celebration of our history, we are also celebrating the opportunities and experiences we continue to provide children and young people today. We’re going to be launching new groups, while also working with our amazing volunteers to welcome new members to existing groups.

With more than 750 local groups in communities across the UK and RoI, the organisation supports more than 20,000 children and young people today with the help of thousands of dedicated volunteer leaders. The BB is also active in over 50 countries around the world.

To find your nearest BB group please visit

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