TYLDESLEY cubs have travelled across the Irish Sea to meet up with a group which provided comfort to them after the Manchester Arena bombing last year.

The 17th Meath Longwood Cubs, from Ireland, wrote letters of support to the 5th Tyldesley Cubs in the wake of the suicide terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert on May 22.

Irish Cub scout leader Marian Duignan came up with the idea of searching for a Manchester cub group on a Facebook scouting page to express their sympathy, and 5th Tyldesley Cubs scout leader David Simpson was the first name that appeared.

In return the Tyldesley cubs wrote back with thank you letters.

Assistant cub scout leader John Worrall’s cousin Alison Howe died in the bombing as she was collecting her daughter and her friend after the gig.

Cub scout leader David Simpson said: "It was almost like it was fate that Marian found us especially with what happened to John's cousin.

"When we read the letters it really choked us all up.

"We stayed in touch for the rest of the year with letters and swapping badges which was nice.

"To take our friendship to the next level I suggested to Marian that we could meet up for a camp and she also said her group had discussed this too."

Members of the Tyldesley organisation flew over to Ireland in October to meet the 17th Meath Longwood Cubs leaders and arranged a date for the camp at Larch Hill International Scout Centre near Dublin.

Six months later, 32 Tyldesley cubs and their leaders got a ferry to Ireland and set up camp on Thursday, April 5.

They met up with 17 of their Irish counterparts the next day before playing football against each other in a game that 17th Meath Longwood won 3-2.

On the Saturday, they went to a water park and carried a range of activities together such as archery, crate stacking and grass sledging.

That night, they had a camp fire and swapped neckerchiefs and badges.

Before singing songs, David and Marian also gave emotional speeches about the two groups growing bond.

David, 29, added: "The atmosphere of the camp was brilliant all weekend and I could not have asked me for a better vibe with everyone getting to know each other so well.

"From something so tragic and sad as the Manchester Arena attack we have managed to take something positive out of it.

"Another scout group put their hands on our shoulders and gave us the support we needed.

"This experience has made it clear that both our groups are part of a bigger scouting family.

"When I was making my speech, I could see Dublin lit up and the sea in the background.

"At that time it dawned on me what our groups had achieved and how far we had come since we wrote letters to each other.

"Another aspect to be proud of is that we have managed to organise a trip abroad which has never been done in any of the sections of the organisation in the 23 years since I have been involved- it is a real feather in our cap."

The two groups are already planning to meet up again at a campsite in England.