Student reports

Commemoration Ceremony 2012

Zhivago Richardson

ICT student,East Berkshire College

My name is Zhivago Richardson and I'm 21 years old. At Present I am studying Information Communications Technology (ICT) BTEC National Extended Diploma Level 3 at the East Berkshire College in Slough, Berkshire.

I am from an Island in the Caribbean named Anguilla which is a British territory. On March 12th I was pleased to be given the opportunity by teachers and the vice principal of the college to attend a Memorial ceremony to honour the memory of Armed forces of the British Empire who served in the First World War and the Second World War and they were from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Caribbean.

It was very interesting to be present and it was also a learning experience to learn about the people who fought in the First World War and the Second World War. It then gave me the incentive to do some more research to get a better understanding of the event and I am still in the process of trying to trace any relatives that may have been a part of the World Wars.

Some of the people I met at the ceremony included The Baroness Flather JP DL who is the Chairman of the Ceremony, Sir John Major and Navy Officials just to name a few. It was such an honour to be at the ceremony and it was very pleasing to see that people are still remembered for their great and mighty efforts. It shows appreciation and will encourage others to help as they can see their efforts will not go undone.

A great thank you and a job well done to all who made the day possible.

Omer Ghani

Student Council Communications Officer, Langley Campus

On Monday, 12 March 2012, I had the honour of representing East Berkshire College with Virginia Barrett (Vice Principal), Martin Pritchett (College's Chair of Governors) and my peer Zhivago Richardson at a very significant event. The Commemoration Ceremony on Commonwealth Day was held at the Memorial Gates, Constitution Hill. This ceremony was a tribute to those World War (I & II) participants who aided the British forces and hailed from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean.

Luckily the 10th Anniversary of the memorial (Diamond Jubilee year) coincided with lovely weather and rendered my umbrella useless. Despite being open-air, the venue was quite intimate as the crowd was neither too small nor too large. By 10 40 am all guests had arrived and the ceremony commenced.

In a very charismatic display, Her Majesty's Life Guard rode past on their steeds, as onlookers stood up. After that "Rt. Hon. Baroness Flather JP DL", "Field Marshal Sir John Chapple GCB CBE DL" and "Rt Hon and Rt Revd The Bishop of London", all addressed the audience and their steely speeches resonated the importance of the martyrs' sacrifice and its value in contemporary Britain. The solemn Gurkha Buglers played before and after a minute's silence and subsequent wreath laying.

As the ceremony culminated, refreshments were provided in the form of tea and cultural food, native to the regions that were being commemorated. This was also the moment when we were able to meet the respected members of the memorial Council and former Prime Minister Sir John Major. All those present were extremely friendly and very informative. We were encouraged to observe the magnificent architecture and epitaphs. It was a great atmosphere where we all stood together as a brotherhood of multiple ethnicities with a common purpose and remembered the lives lost in order to make ours better.

All in all, the afternoon was simple and graceful. Everything was timed perfectly and no aspect overstayed its welcome. It is an enlightening event that I was lucky to attend and more people should experience.

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Students Omer Ghani (far left) and Zhivago Richardson (far right) at the Memorial Gates on Memorial Day 2012.

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