A memorable royal visit May 9, 2017 to mark the College’s centenary

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A wonderful event to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Pangbourne College took place on Tuesday May 9th, 2017 when Her Majesty The Queen accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh paid an eventful three and a half hour visit to the school.

The royal couple arrived by helicopter on Big Side at 11.00am to be greeted by the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott (58-63) CB. The party then moved to the Falklands Islands Memorial Chapel to attend a Service of Thanksgiving for the Centenary of the College.

The Address during the service, on the theme of Trust, was given by the former Bishop of Rochester, the Right Reverend Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali –  now the Anglican community’s special representative to persecuted Christian communities around the world. There was not a spare seat in the chapel, ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’ was sung with enormous gusto, the Lesson was read with brio by the Senior Scholar Rebecca Crossley, the Choir was in fine voice for the Anthem ‘Faire is the heaven’ and the Pangbourne College Brass Ensemble was in terrific form

A prayer of Thanksgiving for the Centenary was read by the Headmaster Thomas Garnier. It included a particular reference to Old Pangbournians: “Almighty God, we remember before you the 178 Old Pangbournians and one governor who gave their lives in the defence of this nation in the Second World War. We thank you for their sacrifice and also for the many Old Pangbournians who have suffered in that and other conflicts. We praise you for the College’s legacy of service, for the many who have dedicated themselves to the Armed Forces and to the Merchant Navy and for the wider good that students of this College have offered to the nation and the world.”

Outside the Falklands Chapel, the royal standard flew prominently from the College flagpole and a large number of photographers and reporters were in attendance. Two welcoming lines representing the Pangbourne community stretched across the parade ground to Devitt House allowing the royal couple to meet a variety of pupils, parents and staff as they moved to the beautifully- refurbished Old Library room in Devitt for a two-course lunch. Throughout, The Queen and the Duke of Ednburgh were in sparkling form, both recalling previous visits to the College warmly and inquiring about the school’s development today.

After lunch a short ceremony was held in the entrance hall to Devitt. A number of those at the lunch were presented to The Queen and the Duke and a leather-bound copy of the illustrated centenary history of the College was presented to The Queen. The royal couple then signed the visitors book before walking to a reviewing stand on the edge of the parade ground for the final event of the afternoon – a short parade by all 410 pupils.

The College, with the Guard detachment, began the parade by marching in good order on to the parade ground which was ringed entirely by spectators. The Marching Band then played the National Anthem, a new colour was presented by Her Majesty to the College, The Queen’s Gold Medals for 2017 were presented by Her Majesty in person to the current Joint Chiefs, Ellen White and Frederick Taucher, the maroon royal car moved slowly across the parade ground to the review stand, RSM Hearn called for three cheers from the College for the royal couple – and the memorable day for everyone associated with Pangbourne College came to an end.

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