Remembrance Sunday is always a very special occasion at Pangbourne College and in the village of Pangbourne. As one new member of staff was heard to say: ‘At Pangbourne they do it properly’.
Over 1,000 people, including parents, grandparents, Old Pangbournians, Parents of Old Pangbournians and former members of staff, joined the College community in the morning for a service, led by the Chaplain the Reverend Neil Jeffers, and parade taken by Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, former First Sea Lord (2009-13), to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
In the afternoon, the Marching Band, led by final year student and Drum Major Sasha Pokrovskaya, gathered with Bandmaster Mr Jeremy Clack, Director of Music Miss Ellie Calver and Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) Colin Hearn to lead the village uniform groups, such as Brownies and Cubs, as well as the Royal British Legion in their parade through the village to the War Memorial and service at the church of St James the Less.
At the morning service in the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel, the Chamber Choir, conducted by Miss Calver, sang a capella Sir Hubert Parry’s rousing My Soul, There is a Country prior to the Service of Remembrance. During the service wreaths were laid by Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott, Chairman of Governors, the Headmaster of Pangbourne College Mr Thomas Garnier and Mr Merrick Rayner, Chairman of the Old Pangbournian Society.
In his sermon, the Chaplain reminded the congregation of the 176 Old Pangbournians and one Governor who died in World War II and also the 255 servicemen, including Colonel H Jones VC and three civilians, who died in the Falklands War of 1982. The Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel is a living memorial to those who lost their lives – and there is a World War II Old Pangbournian memorial window which is hung at the south end of the Chapel.
The College Choir sang two moving and poignant anthems: We Will Remember Them composed by David Perkins, himself an RAF serviceman, and written by his wife Caroline Dooley, who were present in the congregation, and accompanied by the College Brass Ensemble (Mr Jeremy Clack, Philip Garnier, Lucy Perring, Finley South-Klein, Louis Winter, Toby Woollen and also French Horn players Laurence Livesey and Luca van der Wyck); and Gabriel Fauré’s In Paradisum from his Requiem. The Brass Ensemble also accompanied the National Anthem and Old Hundredth Psalm.
RSM Colin Hearn, himself a Royal Marine, led the congregation in the Act of Remembrance and, as an RAF Chinook and Puma flew overhead, Mr Clack played the Last Post.
Following the service, the Marching Band led the Remembrance Sunday parade at the College at which Chief Cadet Captain of the College (Head Boy), Fred Taucher, introduced Guest of Honour Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope to the College.
The sun shone brilliantly throughout and among the pieces performed by the Band was an arrangement especially written by Bandmaster Mr Clack for the Pangbourne students, Land of Hope and Glory. Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope and Lady Stanhope, with Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott and Mr and Mrs Merrick Rayner, were entertained by the Headmaster and Mrs Alex Garnier to a lunch at Devitt House, at which guests included Chief Cadet Captains Matthew Atkins and Charlotte Bowman and their parents.
A large group of Parents of Old Pangbournians were hosted by Director of External Relations Miss Karen Hartshorn in the newly refurbished Old Library for lunch. Many enjoyed the new centenary Old Library corridor, in which there is a 100 Years Photographic Exhibition celebrating the College’s history. The afternoon parade and service in the village was supported by over 300 members of the local community.