At 11.00am today, the School community gathered in silent remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in times of war. Although we could not gather in the Chapel like previous years, the Lockhart Garden provided a fitting back-drop to a very poignant Service of Remembrance this year. Contingent Commander Walters began the proceedings, supported by Senior Combined Cadet Force Cadets. Mr Paul Bennett played The Last Post and Reveille. The scene was streamed live to students, teachers and support staff around the School so everyone was able to join the two-minute silence together. Following the traditional introduction read by Mr Donegan, Deputy Head pastoral, Head Girl, Sophie Brown, Head Boy, Archie Heaney, Deputy Head Girl, Ihuoma Osuji and Deputy Head Boy, Anuj Savani, read aloud the names of the Ratcliffe fallen and whose names are remembered on the memorial wall in the School Chapel.
The Headmaster was joined in the laying of the wreaths by Mr and Mrs Balmbra, parents of former teacher and Contingent Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Balmbra, who sadly died in February this year. The path to the Lockhart Fountain led them through a memorial to the fallen of poppies and crosses bearing the names of former students. At the same time, Year 7 Music Scholar, Edward Black, sang a beautiful rendition of “I Vow to Thee My Country”, helping create a vivid impression of the Service in the minds of all those present. Our service concluded with Contingent Commander Walters reading and a prayer and blessing to the fallen from Fr Philip Sainter, Fr President. As our Cadets marched from the Fountain area, they were accompanied by Piper, Mr Dominic Deery.
As Headmaster of this special School community, I wish to convey to you how proud I was today of our students and staff. The skirl of the pipes at the end of what was a most moving service will be remembered by those involved for many years to come. In this time of adversity, the School community once again demonstrated its remarkable ability to adapt to the circumstances in order to ensure that all our students are able to experience and take memories from their time at school. This has always been the ethos of Ratcliffe College – how good it is that some things never change. Floreat Ratcliffe!
With my grateful thanks to all those who contributed to this year’s Remembrance Service: the Chaplaincy Team, the Combined Cadet Force, the Music Department, the Senior Prefects, Mr & Mrs Balmbra and Mr Donegan.
Mr Jonathan P. Reddin,