Soccer legend Sir Alex Ferguson has praised the Christian youth organisation, the Boys' Brigade, for teaching him the importance of team work and helping others.
Sir Alex, who achieved a reputation as arguably the greatest football manger ever during his 17 years at Manchester United, has come out in support of the brigade's new recruitment campaign, One for All.
The brigade builds teamwork, knowledge and character using activities such as expeditions, nature trails, camps, canoeing and overseas travel. Its stated aim is: "The advancement of Christ's kingdom among Boys and the promotion of habits of Obedience, Reverence, Discipline, Self-respect and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness."
Sir Alex as a boy was a member of the 129th Glasgow Company.
The brigade is divided into sections according to age, including Anchor, Junior, Company and Senior, and each section is being tasked with finding one new member.
Sir Alex said: "As a parent you give values to your children, which my parents did very well. Going to The Boys' Brigade is an inspiration where you learn about teamwork, helping each other and that enjoyment of being in the BB is a fantastic experience."
Sir Alex has spoken previously about how the brigade helped form his character and his passion for football.
In an interview with the Church of Scotland's Life and Work magazine, he said: "My Christian upbringing was through the Boys' Brigade. As kids, church is boring but the BB Bible Classes were a bit more entertaining. The BB chaplains would make it far more lighthearted and instructive than sitting through a service."
He also shared his fond memories of 129 Glasgow Company and the men running it, Johnny Boreland and Johnny's brother Jimmy, who was in charge of the 12-16 age group.
"Johnny was an absolute fanatic for the game. When we went to camp in places like Stonehaven we were given a list of everything we had to bring with us, and at the bottom, in big capital letters, he'd put 'AND FOOTBALL BOOTS'. As soon as we arrived it would be 'right everybody, get your football boots on'.
"Johnny gave us a leg up and developed this great enthusiasm in us all. We won the Battalion Cup in a two-leg final in 1950. I still keep in touch with Johnny; he's a marvellous man, absolutely marvellous."
It was not all football, however, he added.
"We had all the other parts – Bible classes, learning to play the bugle, going for our badges. I did the signalling badge, the camping badge, about nine or ten badges in my time there. As I got to 16 they wanted me to come on as a staff sergeant, but by that time I had drifted away – but that spell from nine to 16 was a very important part of my life. It gave us discipline and confidence, and trust in the relationships we developed with the officers."
The Boys' Brigade works with more than 50,000 children and young people and more than 1,400 groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland. About 20,000 young people aged five to 18 attend one of the 430 groups every week in Scotland alone.
The One for All campaign is being run in Scotland.
Bill Stevenson, brigade director in Scotland, said: "The BB helps engage people of all ages and walks of life in activities they may never normally experience, welcoming members to become part of our BB extended family.
"From expeditions to nature trails, camps to canoeing and overseas trips, the BB gives young people the chance to grow and learn. To have Sir Alex Ferguson's backing is also testament to the hard work we undertake across the country. He has gone from a boy from Govan to one of the world's most famous footballing heroes using his leadership and team working skills gained through the BB."