THE head of the Salvation Army made a historic visit to Bedford last weekend to mark 125 years of the charity being in the town.
General Linda Bond started off the celebrations with a reception attended by civic leaders in the Mayor’s Parlour on Saturday before speaking after dinner and two church services on Sunday.
On March 4 in 1988, a crowd of around 500 people gathered for the first public meeting held by the Salvation Army in Bedford which took place on a skating rink.
Within a year a building capable of seating more than 1,000 people had been constructed in River Street.
Named Bedford Congress Hall, this remained the base for the Salvation Army until 1977 when it was demolished and replaced by the current site in Commercial Road.
Throughout this time the charity has focused on puttin the Christian faith into practice by serving people.
Despite primarily being a Christian chirch, the Salvation Army is widely known for its emphasis on social action.
Currently the church has a membership of around 200 people alongside other individuals who give support in various ways.
Speaking about the visit, Major Ian Loxley, from the Bedford branch, said: “It went extremely well we were very pleased to have her here in Bedford.
“The general spoke after dinner where there were about 150 people which was a great turnout and then the two church services on Sunday were packed out.
“We have a couple of new projects currently being developed including the provision of a community resource at the site of the former Wool Pack pub in Commercial Road.
“This application is gaining momentum. We have submitted it to Bedford Borough Council and are hoping it won’t be long before we given the go-ahead to start work.”