At 10.45 on November 10th, hundreds of students and staff at Cirencester Sixth Form College joined together in an act of remembrance. The service began with forty Uniformed Public Services students and Cadets marching to the College’s own cenotaph, erected to honour those who have sacrificed their lives to secure and protect our freedom. In his welcome, Jim Grant, Principal at Cirencester College, reminded students that 100 years ago to the day, the Battle of Passchendaele was just coming to an end. Over a quarter of million British and Commonwealth soldiers lost their lives. He emphasised that many of those who died were of a very similar age to the hundreds of 16-19 year olds standing in front of him. Jim then introduced Mother Katie Richardson, who led the congregation in prayer. English teacher John Pitt read an extract from the moving poem ‘In Flanders Field’, which John McCrae wrote when he served as an artillery officer in the First World War.
Public Services student, Leah Boswell, representing the services, laid a wreath before the playing of the Last Post and the lowering of the British Legion standards from Kemble & District and South Cerney. There followed a two-minute silence, which was observed with the utmost respect and dignity by the huge crowd before the playing of Reveille. The service closed with the National Anthem before Mother Katie urged the College community to go about their lives in peace and to seek reconciliation.
Jim Grant said, “Remembrance allows staff and students a time to reflect. The College have come together for a number of years now to remember those who have given their lives in conflicts in the past right up to the present day. A British soldier has died nearly every year since the end of World War I, so this is the time for all of us to reflect on the pain that conflict brings to the lives of ordinary people all around the world.“
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