Seventy West Midlands learners from Summit Learning Trust were honoured to attend the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey this week, which was attended by His Majesty King Charles, Camilla, the Queen Consort, and senior members of the Royal Family.
The learners, aged 5 to 15, who were drawn from across the Trust’s eight academies in Birmingham and Solihull, joined a 2000-strong congregation which included High Commissioners, senior political figures from the UK and the Commonwealth, faith leaders, and some of the home nations athletes who competed at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year.
The annual service, organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, is held to celebrate the Commonwealth of Nations and provides an opportunity to focus attention on this voluntary association of 56 countries and their commitment to promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law and equality for its 2.5 billion citizens.
It marks the beginning of a week-long series of events and activities happening around the globe – including faith and civic gatherings, debates, school assemblies, flag-raising ceremonies and cultural events.
The learners had the opportunity to listen to King Charles’ Commonwealth Day Message from the Great Pulpit of the Abbey. Pegasus Primary School’s Pearl, Year 3, was particularly delighted to meet the Nauru Representative who gifted her a ribbon headdress, a pin badge and his 50th birthday commemorative coin from Nauru.
“It was amazing, there was lots of singing and dancing and it was so fun. We even got to see the King! Princess Kate smiled at us and mouthed hello to us. It was so brilliant.
“I met the delegate from a country called Nauru. He told me all about the country being the smallest island in the Commonwealth and he gave me some lovely tokens.”
Vanessa Wardle, Principal of Pegasus Primary School said: “To be part of the Royal Commonwealth Ceremony yesterday was so incredibly special and I am immensely proud of not just my children from Pegasus Primary School but also from those representing each academy across Summit Learning Trust. Some of our children have never been to London before and they proved what amazing ambassadors they are for our school. It is a day that we will all remember for years to come. We got to sing God Save the King to the King!
Vince Green, Chief Executive Officer from Summit Learning Trust, added: “This is the second year that children and young people from our Trust family have been privileged to attend this very special event to celebrate the cultures and people from our Commonwealth countries. To do so alongside our King, Queen Consort and other members of our Royal Family was an amazing cultural experience for them all.”