I’m sorry if you are uncomfortable. I am sorry that you have to stand in the rain. I am sorry if you have only had one piece of toast at break time but there are times when remembrance is uncomfortable,’ said Reverend Stephen Cousins when the pupils and staff of Shiplake College assembled at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to remember.
‘This is one of the few occasions when I ascend to the pulpit, in the church, but I believe that is important that we remember the millions who lost their lives in the First World War and subsequent wars,’ the Reverend had said earlier in the day at the morning service.
Whilst nearly 500 pupils, teachers and staff stood in silence, shrouded by the cold drizzle, Greg Holt, from Year 11, ascended the steps of the Shiplake Court tower, overlooking the courtyard and played ‘The Last Post.’
On Rememberance Sunday, the College held a special service in the Great Hall, followed by a visit to the Shiplake War Memorial. We were fortunate to be joined by inspirational guest speaker Brigadier (Ret’d) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff of the ABF Soldiers’ Charity. Standing at 6’7″, Robin has a great presence and appears regularly on television as the charity’s media spokesman.
True to form, Robin delivered an emotive, powerful speech, built on the theme of ‘Why We Remember?’. Robin highlighted the devastating impact of both World Wars on independent schools, as so many brave young men lied about their age to serve for their country. He also explained how so many injured soldiers embrace the challenge of living with their injuries, often going on to achieve remarkable success. These men and women are an inspiration to us all. We thank Robin for his engaging speech, which was positively received by boys, staff, parents and guests alike.