On 9 March eight students from Darwen Vale High School were selected to be among nearly 1,000 young people from all corners of the UK in attendance at Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Day Observance, Britain’s largest annual inter-faith gathering.
The celebration was attended by Her Majesty The Queen and Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge. This year’s Observance celebrated the 2015 Commonwealth theme ‘A Young Commonwealth’. Teacher Carolyn Hothersall said, ‘We’ve really enjoyed hearing about life in other countries of the commonwealth. It’s been an exciting and valuable learning experience.’
Speakers included international child rights’ activist and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi; Queen’s Young Leader and community mobiliser, PJ Cole; and Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury MP, the first female Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh.
The multi award-winning South African a cappella group, The Soil performed and Indian poet, Sharanya Manivannan read a new poem, commissioned for Commonwealth Day.
Two of the students described the event as:
“‘An extraordinary rare experience.” and “‘A once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The children present in the Abbey – including those presenting posies to The Queen and The Duchesses – were from schools currently involved in Commonwealth projects.