Nostalgia: ‘You went away for a week in the summer’

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KEN Swinney, 81, secretary of Corstorphine Community Council, still vividly remembers the time he spent as a member of one of the Capital’s most active Boys Brigade (BB) groups in the 1940s and 50s.

Having left the Cubs in 1944, Mr Swinney said he spent his early BB years at the group’s base at St Aidan’s Church in Stenhouse before joining the 13th Boys Brigade at Corstorphine Old Parish Church in 1949.

It was in that year that Mr Swinney was invited to begin officer training, later becoming a lieutenant in 1950.

He said the atmospheric and historic surroundings provided by the Old Parish Church provided the perfect backdrop to the activities of his BB group. “It was a great place,” he said.

“We must have had over 50 boys and it was a very good company, because of the way the area was at that time. There were lots of young ­people living here, which we are feeling the loss of at the moment, and everyone was enthusiastic.

“There were lots of activities which we did as a group – drill, physical training, first aid. We also had a brass band – a bugle band.”

Mr Swinney, who is still a BB officer, said memories of camping outings which he and fellow group members went out on were particularly strong.

He said: “You went away for a week in the summer and I remember there was a spell where I did the cooking during the camp, which was great.

“You would have parents’ days, where the parents would come down and muck in. I still meet some of the lads here today who were growing up at that time and we have a good chatter about past times.”