While our busy world rushes on, The Last Post and Reveille ceremony still takes place every evening, come rain or shine, at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres. Laurence Binyon wrote the words on a Cornish cliff top in 1914: “At the going-down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”
When the clocks have gone back, when sunset follows hard on the heels of our school day; when the mornings become more frosty and chilly, these words have a particular sonority for us, no matter what age we are. More than a century on, ‘November’ still means ‘Remember’. And the words of Binyon, set to music, featured poignantly in our Prep School Remembrance service, led on the eleventh day of the eleventh month by our Chaplain-elect, the Reverend Canon Andrew Hutchinson.
My Chapel Tube this week had set the theme for the week. Putting Remembrance into context, with the children invited to join in a memory game, a number of them gained an edible prize from yours truly. We focused on memories both happy and sad. We explored the importance of this fact: nothing lasts forever, good or bad.
And doubtless, as reference was made to the horrors of 1914-18 – afterwards known as ‘The War To End All Wars’ – many a thought will have strayed to events in Ukraine, which seems to be a grotesque historical anomaly. And prayed earnestly for it to come to a conclusion in the near future.
So, towards the end of the week came our two acts of Remembrance. On Thursday, Years 2 and 3 joined me in Chapel for a beautiful age-appropriate service. I was very grateful to Rev Charlie Butler, Old Scholar, for leading the service with great clarity and poignancy. The children, totally engaged, contributed beautifully throughout. Their singing was angelic; their prayers spoken with confidence.
On Friday, it was the Prep School who honoured the dead and the wounded. This time the service was led by our Chaplain elect, the Rev Canon Andrew Hutchinson. It was an awe- inspiring, very solemn occasion, for which the children donned their Best Blue gowns. The Chapel Choirs sang a spell-binding anthem, ‘For the Fallen’, arranged by Mike Sammes. The readers, well-prepared, and read with maturity and dignity beyond their years. A thank you to all involved whether in the service or logistically. This was an excellent team effort.
On a lighter note, some children enjoyed a visit from Brian Moses. Well known as a children’s poet, he has over 200 published works, his poetry books and anthologies for Macmillan having sold more than a million copies. The children fed back that this visit had inspired them to engage further in poetry both reading and writing. Thank you to Miss Patel for organising.
On Thursday evening we were treated to the most delightful Music Concert by our talented Scholars. A packed house witnessed an array of musical delights and children who are truly outstanding and an inspiration to all. Music is a hallmark of our school and was reinforced at this majestic event. Thank you to Mr Nicklin, Mrs Creaton, Mrs Ho, our Visiting music teachers and, of course, the children for an unforgettable evening.
Today, our U11 Hockey team represented the School at the IAPs Hockey National Finals at Cheltenham College. I am waiting to hear the outcome, but, whatever the result, I am very proud of them and all the children who represent our school in a variety of disciplines. Great things really do happen at BCS.
Happy weekend, one and all.