Friday 12th May saw a very special assembly for Year 7 and 8 students as well as the Prefect Team. The past two month’s arrangements were made to ensure the affiliation between the Royal British Legion and Northgate High school went ahead as planned. The arrangements were clearly considered for our VIP dignitaries, guests and Mr & Mrs Hendry. Mr & Mrs Hendry are the parents of Lewis Hendry, a former student at Northgate High School. Lewis was sadly killed in Afghanistan in 2011, it was extremely important the affiliation ceremony was arranged with the sensitivity and dignity required. Guests included Major General Sir William Cubitt, President of the Royal British Legion, Norfolk and Lady Cubitt, Mr John Boisson, Chairman of the Royal British Legion, Norfolk, Mr Phillip Duigan, Mayor of Dereham, Squadron Leader M D Alden, RAF Marham, Mr Steve Graves, Norfolk Police as well as well as Trustees and representatives of Unity Education Trust.
The ceremony was choreographed and structured with military precision by Mr MacDonald. It was an honour to have the County and Dereham Branch Standards of the Royal British Legion, marching alongside our own flags carried by an honour guard of our service youth organisations. Students of Northgate represented our school fantastically and certainly did Northgate proud. The ceremony included the honour guard and was made up by Stefan Attride, Reanna Denson-Smith, Cameron Mason, Molly Roe, Erin Taylor-Kerr and Kayleigh Webster.
At Northgate High School we are extremely fortunate to have such an amazing Music Department. The musically talented Miss Brooks led the beautiful musical arrangements that were a fitting tribute for our ceremony. The affiliations were officially recognised by the formal exchange of certificates and were signed by the Head of School, Mr Mason, and the Chairman of the Royal British Legion. The certificates were accepted on behalf of Northgate by Mr Mike Salt, Vice Chairman of Governors. In addition to the affiliation, the Royal British Legion has acknowledged the commitment and dedication by Northgate leading up to the annual Service of Remembrance.
Northgate has received the ‘Certificate of Merit’ for outstanding work and commitment to ensuring the Poppy Appeal is supported every year. Mr MacDonald has been the driving force behind this since his arrival in school. Mr MacDonald accepted the award from The Royal British Legion. Major General Sir William Cubitt KCVO CBE, President of Norfolk Royal British Legion, presented the award to Mr MacDonald, who understands the importance of remembrance and fully appreciates the significance to continue our whole school support towards the Poppy Appeal. Mr MacDonald acknowledged it was a very proud moment to receive the award on behalf of the school from the President, who was accompanied by Lady Cubitt. We are working towards something very special, to ensure that 2018, which will mark 100 years since the ending of World War One, is commemorated with a special service.
Head Boy Laurence Jones and Head Girl Lauren Coates were instrumental in the ceremony, ensuring each of the guests were invited to the stage to deliver their presentation. Mr John Boisson, Chairman of Norfolk Royal British Legion, gave his presentation to the assembly explaining what the affiliation and the award meant to both organisations; “working together in the future”. Head of School, Mr Mason formally closed the proceeding as the Standards marched off, whilst Lexie Fields, Year 10, sang ‘In the arms of an angel.’ A moving end to a special ceremony for all involved. All our guests were then invited to have a tour of the school and enjoy coffee and canapes, wonderfully prepared by our GCSE catering students and Mr Stevenson.
This poignant and significant occasion was extremely important to not only our school, but also to our community.
After the event, Sir William Cubitt, President of the Royal British Legion, Norfolk, said ‘I applaud the work of Northgate High School and its associated schools in remembrance and support for the armed forces community. It has been a pleasure to see so much of these wonderful schools on our visit this morning’. Another of our invited guests, Squadron Leader M D Alden, Royal Airforce, commented, ‘I have found Northgate High School inspirational. Education has clearly advanced so much, the diversity of topics taught, the moral and emotional component weaved within suggests to me that the school is developing students increasingly well, thereby preparing them for the challenges ahead – outstanding’. What fantastic comments about Northgate and something to be proud of!
Thank you to all those who were involved in the ceremony and those who helped make it run so smoothly.