I hope you have had a lovely week and that all of our Hindu and Sikh families have enjoyed celebrating a very Happy Diwali. On behalf of all the staff, thank you to families for the delicious sweets that were given to the school.
We had a moving and powerful Remembrance Service at 11am today to pay our respects to the fallen who had made the ultimate sacrifice in order to allow us the freedom which we enjoy today. The service was led by the Reverend Jo James. The children were just magnificent and the new vicar of St Paul’s was very impressed with how beautifully they stood in silence, for such a long period of time. As well as the Reverend Jo, I would also like to thank Mick Blake for his haunting rendition of The Last Post.
Before the service, I told the children about former Belmontians who had lost their lives in the Second World War and the 194 Old Millhillians who lost their lives in the Great War. 29 young OM lives were lost in the Battle of the Somme alone. Mr Perrin, who served for twelve years in the Royal Signals, wore his medals to give the ceremony relevance for today’s world. I told the children that Mr Perrin would be lighting the torch at the ‘Beyond the Deepening Shadow’ commemoration ceremony tomorrow at the Tower of London. Every night a serving soldier, a veteran and a cadet begin the ceremony. As a Help for Heroes Ambassador, Andy Perrin has the honour of lighting the first lamps on Saturday night. The ceremony runs from 1700-2100 if anyone is interested in attending. hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/explore/the-tower-remembers/
First World War Drama Performance
In remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One we were visited by the Quantum Theatre on Monday who performed a fantastic play about the Great War to Year 4,5,7 and 8. Accompanied by songs from the period such as ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, the actors taught us about how soldiers were recruited to the army and what life was like for those who served in the war. It was informative, funny, yet also a very moving performance.
Thank you to Mrs Smith for organising this as well as her Chapel on Wednesday, which looked at the poem by Rudyard Kipling called ‘My son Jack’. It was written about a 16 year old sailor, Jack Cornwell, who lost his life in the Battle of Jutland in 1916. For his bravery, he was awarded the Victoria Cross and remains its youngest ever recipient. The poem also echoes the loss of Kipling’s own son John, who went ‘missing in action’ in 1915 at the Battle of Loos.
New Sports Hall Fundraising Campaign
Tuesday saw the launch of the campaign for the new sports hall at Belmont. I spoke alongside Director of Sport, Lotte Goldthorpe and Foundation Director of Development, Nick Priestnall. We announced the plan to raise £1m over the next year. We’ve had a fantastic start to the campaign and have already received generous donations totalling £744,000, for which we are very grateful and are therefore almost three-quarters of the way there. Over the next year we are optimistic that we shall reach the £1m target for the building, from a range of donations and events. A huge thank you to those who have already made generous pledges and have got the campaign off to an amazing start and to the GPA and FOB who have committed to support it over the next year. Campaign brochures will be sent out next week. It’s not just financial donations which are needed; if you can help in any way with the campaign, that would be great too.
Finally, thank you to all the families who sent in the Rotary boxes to bring some joy to deserving children many miles away this Christmas and a huge thank you to all of the parent volunteers who helped to organise the boxes over the last couple of days.
Have a lovely weekend.