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Moving Centenary Service of Remembrance

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Girls’ Division held a Service of Remembrance to commemorate those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars, and in every conflict since. They were joined by Old Girls, some of whom experienced the Second World War first-hand, and serving members of the arms forces.

Lieutenant Colonel Miles Hayman AGC (ETS), Major Daniella Aspin, Captain Afan Burki, and Lieutenant Nikki Reid, who is also an Old Girl, joined Headmistress Miss Hincks on stage for the service.

Miss Hincks opened the commemoration with a brief welcome, reminding the girls that this Serivce of Remembrance takes place during the year that marks the centenery of the start of the First World War. She went on to invite four girls to speak about their recent experiences on the Battlefields Trip, including Year 10 pupil Emma Higginbottom, who during the trip became the first member of her family to visit the grave of her great-great-uncle. The assembled pupils, staff and guests then sang the hymn ‘I Vow to Thee my Country’.

This was followed by two powerful poetry readings. Captain Burki read Humbert Wolfe’s ‘A Thrush in the Trenches’; and Lieutenant Reid read ‘Early March’ by Normal Nicholson.

Lieutenant Colonel Hayman recited the Ode to Remembrance, to which the whole congregation replied, “We will remember them.”

At eleven o’clock, Isobel Faulkner, who is in Year 13, played The Last Post, which was followed by two minutes of solemn silence and remembrance. She then played The Reveille. This was a moment of particular poignancy, and Lieutenant Colonel Hayman later commented that she performed admirably during the service.

Year 12 pupil Natalie Henderson then performed her winning entry from the Poetry Competition, ‘Legend of Mons’. Her moving reading was followed by a musical performance of ‘Lacrymosa: Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep …’ by Howard Goodall. Major Aspin and four girls then led the assembled pupils, staff, and Old Girls in a prayer, and finally everyone sang together the hymn ‘Jerusalem’.

As the girls filed out of the Great Hall, Mr Morrison gave an organ recital of Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’, the music traditionally played at the Cenotaph in London, to conclude the Service of Remembrance.

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Major Aspin led the prayers, accompanied by four girls

Major Aspin led the prayers, accompanied by four girls

Old Girl Lieutenant Nikki Reid read a poem during the service

Old Girl Lieutenant Nikki Reid read a poem during the service

The performance of the

The performance of the 'Lacrimosa' was a poignant opportunity for reflection