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St Joseph's College Façade Transformed into a Field of Remembrance Poppies

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Music, poetry and a private letter sent home from the Front during the First World War added to the beauty and solemnity of the Remembrance Service held in St Joseph’s College Chapel. The event took place in the presence of Sixth Formers and was simultaneously streamed around the school and to parents and friends.

Led by Deputy Principal and History specialist, Mr Cinnamond, the service followed the journey of the Unknown Warrior from a French battlefield to his final resting place in Westminster Abbey. Mr Cinnamond drew parallels between the present day and a century ago, when the world was not only mourning those lost in warfare, but reeling from a pandemic (the Spanish flu) and riven by social division.

‘A pandemic has once again swept around the globe and this year the outward collective nature of Remembrance was changed. There have not been the parades, the poppy collectors have not stood on street corners… few of us attended Remembrance events in their usual forms. But, perhaps more than ever, the need to come together to remember the sacrifice that others have made remains vitally important,’ he said.

Highlights of the service included the reading of a letter written by his Uncle Harry in 1915 by Mr Atkinson OB, Minibus Supervisor. Lance Corporal Harry Atkinson died of his wounds just six weeks later. James Hodgkinson (Y9) sang ‘Pie Jesu’ from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Requiem and Mariam Pope (L6) sang ‘Amazing Grace.’ Trumpeter Sebastian Fox (Y8) played the Last Post and Reveille.

Elsewhere in the school, the Nursery children produced their own wreath and poppy paintings, using handprints to create the foliage.

As evening fell, a magnificent and moving light show transformed the façade of Birkfield House,  depicting a cascade of Remembrance poppies across the school.