The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell has revealed that one of the reasons he joined the Church as a boy was because - he fancied a Girl Guide.

The Archbishop told a gathering of scouts and guides at York Minster today that his father had been a cub master - and he himself had been a cub and a sea scout as a boy.

"My mother was a girl guide leader for a time, and actually, not having been brought up as a churchgoer, my first real introduction to church was through church parade services, which, in my day, were once a month," he said.

"In fact, my sister, a guide, so enjoyed what she found at the ‘once a month church parade services’ that she and a small group of friends started going on the other Sundays in between, got confirmed, and joined the church.

"This was the catalyst for my becoming part of the church myself - though I'm not quite sure this was all down to scouting!

"I did rather fancy one of my sister’s friends, and since joining the girl guides to get to know her wasn't an option at the time (though I’m now aware that girls and boys do join together in the scouts) I took myself off to church, and also to the youth club on Sunday evenings."

The Church quickly became part of his life, the Archbishop told his audience.

"Jesus became someone to follow - someone who showed me what being human, being alive, is meant to be like.

"And although I'm not sure I made the connection at the time, I can see now that Baden Powell and the others who started the Scout movement also knew and saw this connection; that the Scout motto, ‘be prepared’, was about being prepared for the whole of life...and having the spiritual resources to help face life’s difficulties, challenges, sorrows and fears; even, one day, death itself."

READ MORE: York St George's Day Parade: 2,000 young people mark 80th anniversary

The Archbishop added that the Scout promise he made - to do duty to God and the King  - enfolded 'in a single promise our duties to one another within the life of our nation, and our duties to the world, and all our neighbours across the world, because to believe and honour God is to declare an accountability and a belonging to one another: one human family inhabiting one world'.

Up to 2,000 scouts, guides, cubs, beavers, squirrels and rainbows from the age of four upwards took part in today's York parade, which honoured St George, the patron saint of scouting.

The parade left the Eye of York at 1.20pm to march to the Minster for a service.

Afterwards, the scouts and guides returned to the Eye of York.