Thursday, 13 December 2018
Remembrance Weekend Events
The All In weekend of the Service of Remembrance is always a special weekend and this year was particularly remarkable with a number of events taking place. The weekend got under way with Mr Dunham’s fabulous ‘A Night at the Musicals’. This was a hugely entertaining concert with every child in the school taking part. With songs from a wide variety of musicals including Lion King, Matilda, Bugsy Malone, Mamma Mia, Joseph, Spamelot, We will Rock You, Les Miserables and Oliver, there was something for everyone. There was beautiful singing, hilarious comedy and just a great sense of fun with even the audience joining in at the end. A full house in the Ashton Hall left wanting more and wondering what the theme would be next year. On Saturday evening we had the big bonfire and firework party. The conditions were perfect this year and we had a clear sky and chilly, dry conditions. An impressive and neat fire built by the groundsmen waited for the addition of the Guy created by Darcy Newson. The bar for the mulled wine and mulled Abberley cider had Mr Scott’s usual attention to detail and a fire was warming the first batch. Music sounded from the PA system with the speakers on top of Mr Scott’s new ‘Snatch’ land rover and the tables in the marquee were laden with hot dogs, toffee apples and muffins. Hot chocolate was warming in front of the pre-prep. The scene was lit with Mr Bartholomew’s lighting tower and Mr Bee was putting the final preparations to his firework display. The Clock Tower glowed on top of the hill with its lights turned on. The ceramic poppies flowed down the wall and spread down the Clock Tower bank in the field of Remembrance. The front gates were shut and visitors started to arrive down the back drive to be parked in an orderly fashion by Mr Hiles. A team of prefects with Mr Dunham and Mrs Bennett-Tomlin rattled their buckets to collect donations from adults as they arrived.Abberley Children gathered for registration outside the Ashton Hall. Everyone then marched around to the Clock Tower Bank with a team of staff for the festivities to begin. Beatrice Smith, the youngest boarder, had the honour of helping Mr Williams light the bonfire. It soon burst into life and the Guy was consumed. Children were whistled by year groups to collect their hot dogs, hot chocolate and other treats from Mrs Lockett, Miss Parker, Mrs Eynon and Mr Beswick as the adults headed to Mr Scott’s bar for a warming mulled wine and cider. Gradually everyone had their fill and gathered on the Flag Pole lawn to watch the amazing firework display. As the last of the smoke drifted away from the fireworks everyone made their way back into school or on their way home. Great fun was had by children and adults alike. It was lovely for staff, Prep and Pre-Prep parents and all other visitors as well as the children to enjoy a perfect evening together. The Service of Remembrance this year was very moving with the added importance of being the centenary of the signing of the Armistice at the end of the First World War. For the first time Mr Dunham conducted the service outside the chapel in the Chapel Courtyard which had a wonderful atmosphere. A large congregation shared the moving service where the choir sang beautifully and Mr Prideaux gave a powerful and poignant address. Arabella Shuttleworth played The Last Post and Reveille with great confidence. At the completion of the Remembrance Service everyone processed to the wonderful Ceramic Poppy Field of Remembrance for the official opening. Everyone marvelled at the beautiful and emotional creation with a stream of poppies flowing down the clock tower and spreading down the Clock Tower Bank. Seven thousand six hundered ceramic poppies had been made, sprayed, assembled and put in place by a huge team of helpers led by Mr Scott and Mrs Symons including children, staff, parents, visitors, local school and youth groups to name a few. Lots of children had created their own war poems and Jimmy Henstock and Freddie Thompson read theirs. Oscar Niblett then recited John McCrae’s poem ‘ In Flanders Fields’ before Ryan and Monica Mwete put the last two poppies in place to signal the opening of this amazing creation. This was a truly memorable weekend with the whole Abberley community sharing some very special experiences together.