Students from Glasgow-based Craigholme School mixed with royalty and Olympians when they recently attended the prestigious Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.
Seven pupils aged 11-17 travelled to London to join 800 students from across the UK at the event which celebrated Commonwealth Day. The independent girls’ school was invited due to its international work in collaboration with the British Council which promotes cultural relations and educational opportunities
VIP guests attended the Commonwealth Service including Her Majesty the Queen - Head of the Commonwealth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and PM Theresa May. Faith leaders from across the Commonwealth were also present.
The service focused on the theme ‘A Peace-Building Commonwealth’ and celebrated the unity, diversity and relationships of the modern Commonwealth while aiming to generate greater understanding of its achievements and role.
Speakers included the Prime Minister of Malta, Commonwealth Chair-in-Office Dr Joseph Muscat and Cameroonian peace advocate Achaleke Christian Leke, who was named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year in 2016.
Renowned Olympic heptathlon champion, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, DBE and YST Girls Active advocate Fadumo Olow, carried the Queen’s Baton to the High Altar alongside Commonwealth athletes Anna Meares OAM and Kurt Fearnley OAM.
An added bonus for the students was having their programmes signed by Jessica. During their visit, they also visited the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.
Staff from Craigholme are actively involved in the internationally acclaimed eTwinning programme which enables schools in more than 40 European countries to collaborate online. The school has also been awarded the British Council International School Award at foundation level and is currently working towards intermediate level.
Laura Neill, Head of Upper Junior School, attended the event with the students and the Principal. She said: “The students had an amazing time at the Commonwealth Service, listening to world-class speakers, celebrating with the Royal family, and learning about the different cultures that make up the Commonwealth and what they collaboratively aim to achieve.
“It’s fantastic to receive such exciting opportunities through the international work we carry out at Craigholme and we are delighted to have been invited to this exciting event.”