Bringing Whitehall to a standstill, students from Gordon’s School, West End, Woking together with their Pipes and Drums, held their annual Parade on Saturday to the statue of General Gordon on the banks of the Thames.
The Surrey School, which is the national monument to General Gordon of Khartoum - is the only one in the country permitted to march along the central London venue – and commemorating General Gordon’s life has been an integral part of the School’s history.
Dressed in their ceremonial Blues uniform, after marching along Whitehall and past the Cenotaph, students arrived at the statue of General Gordon at the Victoria Embankment Gardens. There they took part in a Memorial Service led by the School Chaplain the Reverend Sarah Norbron, to commemorate the death of the Christian, soldier, hero and philanthropist, General Charles George Gordon. Wreaths were laid at the foot of the statue.
The co-educational day and boarding school, which is now one of the highest achieving state-funded secondary schools in England, first opened its doors in 1885 as Gordon Boys’ Home at the behest of Queen Victoria, who wanted a fitting National memorial to be created in Gordon’s honour.
To date, the school continues to have the reigning sovereign as its patron and keeps up the tradition of marching, which is undertaken by every student, dressed in ceremonial Blues.
Enjoying the spectacle along with staff, parents and Gordonians was a pupil of the former Gordon Boys’ Home, John Henderson. Mr Henderson, who played the bagpipes for school parades back in 1949 watched with particular pride as his grandson Pipe Corporal Oliver Henderson was among those leading the Parade. Oliver who is Head Boy at Gordon’s has recently passed his SCQF Level 4 Bagpipe Performance and Theory.
Head Teacher Andrew Moss commented: “As always, we were honoured to be able to uphold our tradition, which is a much anticipated event for the whole school. As the only school granted permission to march through Whitehall once again our students represented Gordon’s School to the highest standard, of which General Gordon himself would have been proud.
“Our thanks go to the City of Westminster for allowing us to continue our tradition, to staff and students for their commitment and dedication and to all the parents who helped organise travel, marshal the event and who continue to support the school and our students.”
The Whitehall Parade, was followed by the annual General Gordon Memorial Service in Guildford Cathedral the next day attended by the whole school, staff and parents. Delivering the annual Gordon Sermon was the Right Reverend Jo Bailey Wells, the Bishop of Dorking.