1937 – Festival of Youth

Sure & Stedfast page 143

On 3 July 1937, under a blue sky and in brilliant sunshine, the opening display item at the Festival was provided by The Boys’ Brigade. ‘Headed by the finest B.B. Massed Band the writer has ever heard, more than 800 Boys, all over fourteen, drawn from the London District, marched into the arena with a style and precision that called forth loud applause from the vast assembly of spectators,’ reported the Gazette. This huge Boys’ Brigade display team completely filled the Wembley arena, performing firstly a training tableau and then a series of exercises to music, producing ‘the marvellous effect of the co-ordinated rhythm of hundreds of healthy Boys .. .’ The Brigade certainly merited the applause it received for this display, considering that adequate rehearsal, under the supervision of Brigade P.T. Organizer Major F.W. Stevens, had only been made possible by means of gramophone records. The Brigade also provided a representative detachment for the march past the King and Queen, and, together with other boys’ organizations, took part in the gymnastic games item. The Brigade Secretary, Stanley Smith, was presented to the newly crowned King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and the little Princesses before they left the stadium, and was told by the King that the Brigade’s physical training item was ‘splendid’. At a similar rally of Scottish youth held at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, on 8 July 1937, over 6,000 boys from all parts of Scotland attended to represent The Boys’ Brigade. The many spectators and families who travelled long distances to these rallies must have felt proud of their sons’ performances. Certainly, the B.B.’s prominent part in the Festival of Youth, unrivalled by that of any other youth organization, was a triumphant vindication of the worth of Brigade training methods.