A message from the Queen is set to pass through Headingley Carnegie Stadium tonight. (August 31)
Members of the Boys’ Brigade Leeds Battalion, which has worked with Leeds youngsters for over 100 years, will receive a historic baton and concealed message on the pitch at half time of Leeds Rhinos’ game against Salford City Reds.
The baton has been travelling around Britain after the Queen, who has been the patron of the organisation for the length of her reign, posted the message from Balmoral Castle on a journey around Britain to mark her diamond jubilee.
John Myers, development worker for the Boys’ Brigade Leeds Battalion, said: “They are really excited, I think the fact that there is recognition from the Queen, and it’s not as if she’s just the patron and we don’t hear from her.
“It is a message to the brigade and they recognise what part the baton plays in the Boys’ Brigade – there is a sense of family and togetherness.”
The Boys’ Brigade is a national organisation formed in 1883 that aims to informally educate youngsters in a system underpinned by Christianity.
Around 220 young people, aged from five to 19, take part in their groups in Leeds at present, where they are awarded badges for achievements.
Mr Myers said: “It’s there to develop the physical, mental and spiritual parts of everybody who accesses it.
“There is an element of Christianity and spirituality in its programme.”
Around 16 Boys’ Brigade youngsters from Leeds will help take the baton around their eight meeting churches in Garforth, Farsley, Beeston, Headingley, Hyde Park, Whingate, Tingley and Swinnow today and tomorrow before being passed through Halifax.
The baton procession comes after four Boys’ Brigade members, each representing one of the four UK nations, conveyed the organisation’s jubilee greetings to the Queen before her reply was sealed and sent.
It will be opened after its month-long tour at the Boys’ Brigade’s council meetings in London on September 15.
The baton has only ever been used to convey messages from King George V to mark his silver jubilee in 1935 and from King George VI in celebration of the 1951 Festival of Britain.