Over the last few weeks Cadets having been sorting uniform and practising their drill in preparation for Remembrance Parade in the Village.
It was a great feeling to be able to parade again in public. Especially this year where we have affiliated with the Royal British Legion.
Saturday saw a series of rehearsals, the banner party (CSgt Bryn S., Sgt Lea G., Sgt Liv B. and Sgt Tilda B.) met up with the Royal British Legion and the clergy at the Church to go through the service. RSM Ruari B-S. then went through the parade route to work out the perfect time to call his words of command and laying of the School wreath.
Remembrance started with a service in St Nicolas Church. CSgt Bryn S. marched the CCF banner with the Union Flag and the RBL Standard, escorted by the girls. This was a lovely service reflecting on members of the Village who had fought for us. The service including a reading from Headmaster, Mr Martin Reader.
106 Cadets formed up in the car park for last minute uniform adjustments and inspection. Once sized up they took their place in the parade at Church with the rest of the Village.
The parade had been planned to the smallest detail, the only that couldn’t be planned for the weather. Nothing to worry about, the BBC app said it was going to be dry and 10 degrees. Perfect parade weather…It started to rain!
Our three piping brothers were leading the parade with the bagpipes. “Bagpipes and rain don’t really go together, Sir”. Failing to come up with a plan B, I looked up to the sky and said “do not rain on their parade”. The rain seemed to ease, or I no longer noticed it as it was time to step off in order to reach the Memorial in time for the two-minute silence at 11.
As the parade marched up the High Street, the names of the fallen were read out. This, with the sound of the bagpipes, was very emotional.
The Headmaster formed up with the CCF which was an honour for the Cadets. Marching in front of the Air Cadets brought back memories of running a RAF section.
The pavements were full of members of the community and parents. Everyone seemed to be really proud to watch the parade and those taking part in it. This year seems to feel more special as we were unable to do it last year. This was also the 100th year of the Remembrance parade. There was a real feel of community.
At 10:55 the parade arrived at the memorial with the Contingent proudly flying at the front with the Union flag and RBL Standard.
Sgt Tilda B. read the Exhortation after Sgt Liv B. and Sgt Lea G. took up their positions at the entrance to the memorial.
10:58, Rafe B. beautifully played the Last Post. The Contingent stood to attention and saluted. 11 o’clock. The 2,000 or so members of the Village were completely silent for two minutes.
RSM Ruari B-S. laid the wreath for the School. Cpl Alex S. for Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment (PWRR – our cap badge) and Will S. from VA laid one for Cedar Court while the music department played music.
At the end of the service the Village broke out into a unplanned round of applause for the musicians showing how much they appreciated the young people braving the cold to support the service.
The Contingent then formed up with the rest of the parade to march to the Club. Last job for Ruari as he gave the order for eyes left as they passed the saluting dias.
Credit to Lt Verdon who gave the eyes front. If he wasn’t a Politics Teacher, he would have made a good Guardsman.
Officers, Cadets and parents enjoyed a well-earned bowl of soup to warm up, a chance to socialise with the live band and congratulate the Cadets on a terrific performance.
Thank you to all the staff that helped with the preparations, the music department for proving the faultless music and all the support departments that make these things happen.
A very moving occasion. All the Cadets should be proud of all their effort. The staff and parents certainty are.