The Brigades current History

The Church Lads' and Church Girls' Brigade at St Marks Heyside from 1968

The Church Lads' and Church Girls' Brigade was re-started at St Marks in September of 1968.  The Company was formally registered with NHQ in January 1969.  The Company started following an approach by the Regional Training officer for the NW of England then, Douglas Oates, to the Vicar at the time, Reverend Peter Garlick. 

To attract young lads from the parish, the then Battalion of Rochdale and St Andrews Company Droylsden came to our Parish Hall and gave a range of displays about what the Brigade did.  The one that stood out for many was the band.  The Rochdale Battalion band at the time was very big (and very loud) and they filled the hall.  Many of our members subsequently went on the play in the band, practicing at “Good Shepherd” church in Rochdale.  (It was a long way to carry a drum on the bus!)

The Company opened with Doug's brother, Stewart Oates as the first Commanding Officer.  We became known by the number 470 being the number of the previous company to have been formed in the parish from 1895 to 1930.  Company numbers are allocated sequentially so this company would have been a very early one.  There is unfortunately no record from this time apart from a plaque at the back of Church regarding the "Church mens association".

The PCC made Brigade a loan of £125.00 to get started.  In the early days, the staff of the CLB Company (it being Lads' only at that time) included, Stewart Oates as CO and Senior leader, Christine Oates (Doug's wife) and Sue Maddocks as YBC Lady Leaders and a team of helpers and fund raisers who formed a parents committee.  That included James Corbishley (Mr C), Eric and Joyce Hough, Joyce Bullock and Mrs Wood.

Stewart Oates was recruited from St James East Crompton and was a 2nd Lieutenant at the time he took over the Company in 1969.  He later became Captain of the Company on 23/09/1971.  The JTC and YBC were the first sections to be re-enrolled in 1969 as Numbers 556 and 266 respectively so we know from these numbers that the earlier JTC was a very early one.  The Senior Corps was re-enrolled on 2nd March 1973.

In our first year our Parents committee organised a Summer Gala, which was held on the Vicarage Lawn.  It was opened by the then Oldham Athletic Manager, Jimmy Frizzel.  The loan was repaid and we bought a set of Premier Royal Scot drums which are still in use today.

We have few details of the YGC Company that formed at a later date, we think it was around 1973.  We know their number was NW 105 and from memory, the Commanding Offciers were Rhonda McKown,  Joyce Radcliffe and Audrey Waterhouse prior to the Companies merging to become the present CL&CGB Company in 1978

In 1977 members from St Mark’s were part of a guard of honour for the visit of Her Majesty the Queen’s visit to Manchester.  In 1981 a contingent of Lads’ and Girls’ led by Doug Oates and Judith Buckley took part in the Royal review in Windsor Great Park.  They camped in Windsor Great Park in glorious weather for 3 days.

The CLB Company Command moved in 1983 Doug Oates.

Company Chaplains following Peter Garlick were, Reverend Norman Howard, then Reverend Nick DeKeyser and Reverend Canon Ray Morris from 1992 to 2014, Rev James Read from 2015 to 2020 followed by Revd. Liz Devall from 2021 to the present day.

In 1991 John Corbishley took over as CO asDoug Oates became CO of the Manchester Regiment. Later in 2001 John became CO of the Manchester Regiment and Susan Corbishley took over as CO right up to the present day.

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