We Will Remember Them

Now that the Remembrance season has passed, it seems only appropriate to begin this week’s Master’s Voice with some reflections on such a poignant, moving and thought-provoking week. It would be inappropriate to describe Remembrance as one of the highlights of the school year – this risks trivialising the various commemorations which the College arranges to mark this event every year – but, as many staff and Upper Sixth parents said to me on Sunday, it is Wellington at its very best.

Last week, each and every House assembled, silently, in Great School as they commemorated through poetry, song and contemplation the 1228 Old Wellingtonians who made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for their friends and their country in either the Great War or World War Two. As I pointed out to Wellingtonians yesterday, that’s more than the number of souls in the GW Annenberg for Assembly each week. There are too many pupils to thank for their contributions on Remembrance Sunday itself but it would be wrong of me not to pick out the Chapel Choir and soloists, the Concert Band, the CCF Colour Party, the Drum Corps, the bagpipes and the buglers. And finally, on Armistice Day itself, the entire College gathered on South Front to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

As you will be aware, the Prefects have chosen the College value of Respect as one of this year’s priorities and, as ever, the Wellington Community responded to the season of Remembrance in exactly the right and respectful manner. Brigadier Ian Thomas, who spoke with remarkable insight and great poignancy in Sunday’s Chapel services, reminded us that, first and foremost, Remembrance is about paying due regard to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 725 Old Wellingtonians and Wellington staff lost their lives in World War One alone, meaning that more than 1 in every 1000 of the war dead came from the College, Brigadier Thomas pointed out to a stunned congregation. It really was Wellington at its very best and I believe strongly that every single OW whose name is inscribed on the walls in Great School would be proud of the way in which their old school commemorates their loss and marks their memory.

As Remembrance ends, we move into Anti-Bullying Week, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness and galvanise events in schools across the country aimed at eradicating unkindness and unpleasantness within our communities.  This year’s theme is “Change Starts With Us” and the College Prefects have a number of initiatives planned to promote and celebrate kindness, including daily kindness emails, an attempt for 1000 acts of kindness on Wednesday, themed chapels and a request for the entire community to wear odd socks today to show solidarity in promoting love, kindness and respect as the foundations for our lives together at Wellington.

Finally, it gives me great pleasure to confirm that we have appointed a new Chaplain who will be starting at Wellington after the Easter holidays. Reverend Adrian Stark-Ordish is currently Chaplain at Ardingly College in Sussex, before which he was a Chaplain in the RAF, and comes with outstanding references from both. He has a degree in Philosophy from KCL as well as a second degree in Theology from Oxford University, and was the outstanding candidate from the eight who were invited for interview. Adrian is married with a young family and we are looking forward to welcoming them all to the Wellington Community in due course. Adrian will start his relationship with the College by attending this Sunday’s confirmation service.

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