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Reflecting on Remembrance

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Poetry readings and time for reflection during prayers, music and moments of silence formed this year’s service of Remembrance in the Girls’ Division. Pupils and staff came together with Old Girls on 11 November to commemorate those who lost their lives in the First World War and every conflict since.

Pupils read the works of four poets during the service. Ahead of each reading, Headmistress Sue Hincks made poignant comments about the poet’s life and the impact that war had upon them. Georgia McGinty (Year 10) read ‘All the Hills and Vales Along’ by Charles Hamilton Sorley and Lauren Pursey (Year 13) read ‘Returning, We Hear the Larks’ by Isaac Roseberg. Women’s voices were represented by Vera Brittan: her poem ‘Perhaps’, read by Aaminah Ali (Year 9), is dedicated to her fiancé Roland Aubrey Leighton, who was killed during the First World War in 1915. Rosalyn Harper (Year 12) read an extract from ‘In Parenthesis’ by David Jones.

Amid these poetry readings, at 11 o’clock, the Ode to Remembrance was recited by Miss Hincks, with the congregation repeating the last and most important of Laurence Binyon’s words: ‘We will remember them.’ Bethan Birch in Year 8 played the Last Post and Reveille to bracket the traditional moment of silence.

As the service drew to a close, Miss Hincks led the prayers and Marie Poon in Year 11 performed Nocturne No. 1 in E Minor by Frederic Chopin, providing more opportunities for quiet contemplation and personal remembrance. The service began and ended with hymns sung by the whole congregation: ‘I Vow To Thee, My Country’ and ‘Jerusalem’.

The Girls’ Division service of Remembrance was followed by an Old Girls’ Lunch in the Arts Centre. After the meal, entertainment was provided by the Girls’ Division Senior Flute Quartet and violinist Alice Edwards in Year 9.

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