THE Bootle community came together last week to celebrate the 70 year anniversary of the Brunswick Youth and Community Centre.
The Brunswick Youth and Community Centre, known as ‘The Brunny’, turned 70 years old this year and staff, local residents, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, MP Peter Dowd and children who use the Marsh Lane centre gathered on Friday, April 21st to mark the special occasion.
The Brunny was formed in 1947 – two years after the end of World War Two – by a group of British prisoners of war held in the German camp of ‘Oflag 79’ in Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany
The soldiers in the camp wanted to open a facility in Liverpool to offer a new facility for local boys, and they decided to start a fundraising campaign.
Two years later and the Brunswick Boys Club was founded after the local community managed to raise £13,000.
Mayor of Sefton Cllr Ian Brodie-Browne with ex-POW Bob King
It initially opened up in Toxteth but then moved to Marsh Lane in 1964 where it has remained ever since.
In 1995, the building was extensively re-developed and offers an indoor football pitch as well as a number of rooms for classes and meetings.
It is also regularly used by former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher, who grew up in Bootle.
Guest of honour at the celebrations was Bob King, who was captured by the German army in 1942 and held in Oflag 79 in Germany until he was liberated in 1945.
He was given a standing ovation by other guests, which also included a Merseyside Army Cadet Unit, who have been given permission to parade two nights a week at the centre.
Ian Fazakerley, Group Executive Director and Armed Forces Champion at One Vision Housing, said: “We have a strong relationship with the Brunswick, and were more than happy to support them in celebrating 70 years of success.”
Keith Lloyd, Centre Manager at the Brunswick, said: “We’re extremely grateful to One Vision Housing, Sefton OPERA and the 156 Regiment for their support – not only for this celebration but throughout the year.
“We pride ourselves on the opportunities we offer, which is made possible through the support of our partners and sponsors”
Credit: Tom Martin – Bootle Champion