1947: YOUTH FESTIVAL A REVELATION Unforgettable Display at Pittodrie Park None of the 15,000 spectators will easily forget that brilliant scene as Britannia moved regally with her escort and suite towards the enthronement dais in the centre of Pittodrie Park, Aberdeen, on Saturday afternoon. With 1,500 members of youth organisations drawn up in column, massed bands playing "Rule Britannia," flags of Empire fluttering gently, the scene was an enthralling climax to Aberdeen's first post-war Festival of Youth and Sports Pageant.
From the first moment, with the brilliant opening spectacle of nearly 800 girls dancing "The Dashing White Sergeant" with ballroom precision and causing clouds of dust to rise from the sunbaked ground with their nimble feet, the festival and pageant, sponsored by The Press and Journal" and its associated newspapers, became a resounding success. Skilfully organised on Olympiad lines, it moved swiftly from inspiring music or spectacle to exciting sports encounter, bringing spontaneous cheers from the huge crowd, who made a colourful scene around the arena as the sun beat down on them from a cloudless sky. Youth gave a performance that few will forget. They instantly justified the tribute paid them at the opening by Mr H. R. Spence, M.P. As Mr William Veitch, managing director of Aberdeen Journals, Ltd., told them, Mr Spence had close contacts with youth in the war when he raised the A.T.C. in the North-east. Backed by his war-time associations, his praise - "You are a credit to the North-east and to Scotland," - carried weight. The display bore out his remark. Mr Spence was thanked by Lord Provost Sir Thomas Mitchell. For most people, the festival and pageant was a revelation. And the happy spirit of youthful rivalry between the Aberdeen boys and girls and those who came from Dundee to compete with them gave a piquancy to the sports events.
Dons Defeated Beside the young competitors, senior footballers from Dundee, Dundee United, Gordon Barracks, and Aberdeen came to join in the festival in five-a-side matches refereed by Mr Peter Craigmyle. These games were played in the same fine spirit and the football tournament was won by Dundee, who beat Aberdeen by three goals to two in the final. Spectators who came primarily to see the football matches and the athletic events, found themselves cheering as lustily and just as excited at the speed and skill of the girls' hockey match and the girls' and men's basketball games. And the centrepiece of the displays - "Recreational Activities for Boys" - gave them a bewildering variety of events all taking place on the field at one time - agility and football training, skittleball groundwork, physical exercises, vaulting, boxing, handball and free-standing exercises. Here were recreational exercises carried through in a spirit of youthful vigour and fun by the Aberdeen Lads' Club, Powis, Holburn, and High Senior Youth Clubs, St Katherine's Club, the Boys' Brigade and Sea Cadets, and Holburn, Middlefield, Rosemount, and Skene Square Youth Clubs.
"Delightful Show" Another grand spectacle was provided by the parallel-bar display by teams from the Boys' Brigade, the Lads' Club, and the Youth Service Senior Clubs. Much of the success of the afternoon was due to the music of the Lads' Club pipe band, the Boys Brigade brass and pipe bands, the Boy Scout pipe band, and the 3rd Coy. B.B. bugle band. After the impressive finale a pleasant little gathering of organisers and helpers was held in the Aberdeen F.C. board room. Mr William Veitch expressed his very sincere appreciation of the co-operation of the Aberdeen F.C. directors and renewed his thanks to all who had contributed in any way to the brilliant success of the afternoon. Mr William Philip, president of Aberdeen F.C. and "father" of the club, said they had seen a most delightful show at Pittodrie, and the directors of Aberdeen Journals, Ltd., could be assured of the board's warm goodwill towards any future events of the kind their own newspapers in Aberdeen wished to sponsor.
Inter-City Events Results:? Five-a-side Football. - Round 1 - Gordon Highlanders 0, Dundee 2 (scorers Stott and Gunn) : Aberdeen 3, Dundee United 0 (scorers - Hamilton (2) and McCall): final Aberdeen 2 Dundee 3 (scorers - Aberdeen :Taylor and Baird Dundee Rattray and Cowie (2). Teams Aberdeen -Cooper, Taylor. Hamilton, Baird, M'Call: Dundee - Gunn, Stott, Cowie, Pattillo, Rattray; Dundee United : Barrie, Rae, Harrow, Smart, Wylie; Gordon Highlanders -McKenzie, McFarlane, Darkin, Bond, Yorston Relay Races - Boys' inter-organisation 1 Boys' Brigade: 2 Youth Service Clubs; 3 St Katherine's Club Secondary schoolboys' inter-city - l Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen; 2 Aberdeen Grammar School; Morgan Academy. Dundee. University v. Schools - l Schools; 2 University. Girls inter-organisation, intercity - l Morgan Academy; 2 Aberdeen Youth Service Clubs; 5 Aberdeen Girl Guides Handicap Race. - 1 J.S. Taylor (scr.): 2 Harry Wood: 3 R H Kendal (Taylor is Scottish half-mile champion). Basketball - Aberdeen Men 10. Dundee Men 0 Hockey - Aberdeen Ladies' Select 2. Netball Aberdeen Ladies 5 Dundee Ladies 0 The total result all inter-city events was Aberdeen 10 Dundee 6.
The festival organisers were: Dr A. C. West, chairman of committee; Mr T. T. C. McWhirter, youth organiser; Mr J A. Kerr Hunter C.C.P.R., Edinburgh; Miss M Hay Girls' Guildry; Miss Dora Doeg Girl Guides; Miss H. R. Forbes Boys' Brigade; Mr Robert W. Watt. Boy Scouts Mr James Innes, Aberdeen Lads Club, Mr Geo. Jack, St Katherines Club (Boys); Mr R. M. Watt. Youth Service Senior Clubs; Mr R. E. Cahill, musical adviser.
Source : Aberdeen Press & Journal Monday 26th May, 1947