Accolades for Leeds guiders

The Leeds Guiding movement has celebrated the close of its centenary year with a ceremony at the Royal Armouries to thank volunteers and reward the organisation's high achievers.

Leeds has been at the forefront of guiding since it became part of the social scene for young women.

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A number of Guides were presented with the organisation's highest accolade - the Queen's Award - as part of the ceremony, which was attended by UK Chief Guide, Liz Burnley and North East area commissioner Hilary Cooper.

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Long-serving volunteers were recognised as part of the event, which also saw leadership of the Leeds county area pass from Gillian Ainsley to Audrey Morrall.

"This centenary year has been a completely memorable occasion for all Girl Guiding members in Leeds," said Ms Ainsley. "Without the continued commitment of all our volunteers, what we do would not be possible.

"This year we have been able to show how Guiding has changed over the last 100 years and how we still support the needs of young women, providing them a girl-only space to develop new skills and have adventures."

Events in the Leeds region to mark the Guides' 100-year milestone began in September, 2009, with a gathering at Wetherby Racecourse attended by approximately 4,500 Guides who took part in a two-kilometre sponsored fun run around the course to help raise money to pay for their own centenary events,

However, the Guiding movement's biggest-ever event was staged at Harewood House in August when an estimated 18,000 from all over the UK arrived to take part the Fusion Festival, boasting 33 performance and activity areas, including a Big Top and a Dome stage

Fusion day also marked the launch of Girlguiding UK's campaign to introduce compulsory labelling to distinguish between airbrushed and natural images, with a petition sent to Downing Street.

Meanwhile, another 5,000 Guides from around Leeds joined over 500,000 from across the country via a live link at the Vision event at the Headingley Carnegie stadium in October to celebrate the close of the centenary programme.

The aim of Vision was to bring members of the movement together to share a moment in time, reflecting on the fun of the Centenary year, what the Guides' Promise means and to explore hopes and dreams for the future.

The event also included drumming workshops, a firework display, dance and a video link with Ms Burnley, speaking from the Young Women's World Forum in Enstone, Oxfordshire.

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