Students attend Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey
Eight lucky pupils and two equally fortunate teachers from
Hampshire Collegiate School attended the Commonwealth Service, a celebration of
the Commonwealth, at Westminster Abbey on Monday. They were in excellent company with
numerous members of the Royal family also in attendance along with the world’s leading ministers and
Her Majesty the Queen
was accompanied by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke
and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Henry of Wales and Ms Meghan Markle, The Duke
of York, The Princess Royal, HRH Princess Alexandra, The Countess of Wessex and
The Duchess of Gloucester.
In his Bidding, the Dean of
Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said:
“This year we look together towards a
common future, in which all can flourish and become what we are in the care and
keeping of almighty God. As we give thanks for our rich diversity and for our
common humanity, let us pray together for peace and unity, and that we may
offer one another mutual friendship and support.” It was a very moving service
and we all reflected on the importance of connecting with the world community.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General,
Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, led the Act of Affirmation to the Commonwealth.
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister, read Romans 12: 3-13. Reflections
were read by Jaspreet Kaur, poet and teacher, and Dr Andrew Bastawrous, co-founder
of Peek Vision. During the service, there were performances by Ngāti Rānana,
the London Māori Choir, Liam Payne and the Portsmouth Gospel Choir.
The flags of the 53 Commonwealth
countries were processed through the Abbey at the start of the service and it
was broadcast live on BBC One and the BBC World Service.
Highlights included the excellent quality
and variety of the music, singing the national anthem with the key person in
the room, so to speak, and the speech by Dr Andrew Bastawrous, who discussed
the work that he is carrying out to alleviate sight loss in poorer countries.
We felt truly privileged to have been a part of this special service and it
will certainly go down as a highlight of my teaching career.
By Eirwen Driver, Head of English