Distinguished guests join staff and pupils to mark Remembrance
Pupils and staff of Stockport Grammar School were this year joined by more than eighty guests, including Greater Manchester Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Sharman Birtles JP DL, representing Her Majesty The Queen; Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Stockport, Councillor David Wilson and Ms Jeanette Slavinski; Old Stopfordian President Ms Clare Francis; Chairman of Governors Mr Christopher Dunn and fellow Old Stopfordians in memory of those who gave their lives in the service of their country.
Headmaster, Dr Paul Owen led the service with an opening statement marking 103 years since the end of the First World War. Upper Sixth Form pupil Torin Mills read an extract from the diary of infantryman Harry Drinkwater from the battleground in 1916, which was followed by the reading of Wilfred Owen’s Anthem for Doomed Youth by fellow Upper Sixth Form pupil Charlotte Bradley-Potts. Dr Owen also read an extract of Infantryman’s Diary Helmand Province and Lower Sixth Form pupil Patrick Wilkinson read Isaiah, Chapter 2 Verse 4.
Lower Sixth Form pupil Patrick Owen played The Last Post marking the beginning of a two minute silence. Wreaths were laid by Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Sharman Birtles, Deputy Mayor Councillor David Wilson, and separate wreaths were laid by Head Girl Jessica Horsford and Head Boy Harry Brown on behalf of Stockport Grammar School and Mary Robinson MP.
Prayers were led by Reverend Leaver, remembering those who have given their lives in service across the globe. The Headmaster closed the service with a call for all to take an active part lessening the chance of future wars.
Following the service, guests were invited to a reunion lunch in the School’s Hallam Hall which contains the War Memorial to the 68 Old Stopfordians who gave their lives in the service of their country.
The reunion included pre-lunch music by Second Year pupil Clara Zelhof on violin accompanied by Director of Music, Mr Dow, on piano, Third Year pupil Dan Wood on flute and Fifth Year pupil Jeya Belocura on piano. Our thanks to Mr Dow for arranging the music series for the day. Deputy Head Girl Shanzay Hanuk, Deputy Head Boy Gabriel Keeble and Prefect Chrysa Dimopoulou also gave readings of the wartime recollections of former pupils Christopher Willcock (OS 1948), Denys Lingard (OS 1946) and Neville Stott (OS 1947). Neville’s memoirs can be found on display at the Imperial War Museum.
Old Stopfordian and School Archivist, Mr Stuart Helm (OS 1964), spoke about developments at Stockport Grammar School since the war years, with particular focus on the changes which took place in the 1970s and 1980s when Stockport Grammar School acquired the Convent House grounds and made the strategic decision to successfully move towards co-education as one of the first independent schools to do so.
After lunch, guests were invited to take a tour of the school and view the newest facilities, including the new Sixth Form Centre and purpose-built Nursery.
In the Junior School Headmaster, Mr Copping, gave an assembly on Remembrance Day and why it is marked. Head Girl, Minnie, also read a prayer. On the grounds of the school pupils and staff made the act of Remembrance, reciting The Exhortation:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Upper Sixth Form pupil, Emily Edwards, sounded The Last Post and Reveille.
After the two minute silence The Kohima Epitaph was recited.
When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow, we gave our today.