This week in school we have been reminding the pupils of those who have gone before us who have given their lives in the service of their country in times of conflict. This is not about glorifying conflict and war; it is not about revelling in bloodshed and death; it is not about scaremongering with talk of wars and fighting. It is about remembering and being thankful.

We are so very privileged to live in a country where we have freedom of speech, freedom of religious expression, freedom of movement, freedom of thought and freedom of association. On a daily basis, we are reminded that there are literally millions of people who live in other parts of the world who simply do not have the same freedoms that we have. So it is entirely appropriate that once each year, on or near to 11th November, the whole school pauses and remembers those whose sacrifices bought our freedoms at such a great cost.

It will not be many years now until there are no longer any people alive who were directly involved in World War 2, but it is vital that we continue to remember them and those who died in the First World War.

Of course, there remain flashpoints and areas of conflict around the world and on Monday I encouraged the senior school pupils to be as generous as they could be if they wished to make a donation for a poppy to support the Royal British Legion in the excellent work they do in supporting the families of military personnel killed or injured in conflicts.

This morning we held 2 services of Remembrance; one for the Prep School and one for the Senior School. Both were age-appropriate and allowed us all to take a moment to reflect, remember and honour those who gave their lives. These services also gave us the chance to make individual and corporate declarations about endeavouring to be peacemakers: “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

For those of you in or near Bideford who do not already have other commitments, please do join Debs and myself down at The Pill at 10.30am and in St Mary’s Church at 11.30am on Sunday morning for the town’s annual Service of Remembrance, where we will be laying a wreath on behalf of the school.
“We will remember them”.

Mr Pete Last