The National Memorial to General Gordon Patron: Her Majesty The Queen

Posted: 12th September 2022

Students, staff and parents at Gordon’s School congregated on the School’s Parade Square on Friday morning to commemorate the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who was Patron of the School. Prayers were led by the School Chaplain, the Reverend Graham Wright and the Last Post played. The School’s Pipes and Drums played The Lament Flowers of the Forest and a two minute silence observed.

Union flags at Gordon’s School, have been flying at half-mast since news first broke of the death of Her Majesty and members of the School community invited to light a candle in the Chapel in Her Majesty’s memory. This Sunday’s whole-school Parade will be dedicated to Her Majesty.

As the National Memorial to General Gordon, Gordon’s School in West End, Surrey Heath has enjoyed a long and proud association with the Royal family and in particular the reigning Sovereign. It was Queen Victoria who insisted on a national memorial to the philanthropist and war hero and so Gordon Boys’ Home for necessitous boys came into existence, evolving years later to become the school Gordon’s is today. Since its inception, the Patron has always been the reigning Sovereign.

HM The Queen’s father HRH the Duke of York was Chairman of the Gordon Foundation Executive Committee from 1924 to 1936 and the young Princess Elizabeth is believed to have watched her first film at the school in West End, Woking with boys from what was then Gordon Boys’ Home.

The school last welcomed HM the Queen at its centenary celebrations in 1985 when Her Majesty unveiled a plaque. Her Majesty, together with the HRH Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother generously donated to the school’s Centenary Appeal, which raised over £300,000 to modernise the buildings. However, Her Majesty was very much a part of school occasions and students and staff delivered a letter from the Monarch to the Khartoum International Community School during their visit to Sudan in 2018.

Day and Boarding Houses, as well as being named after people and places associated with General Gordon, also reflect the school’s Patron and include Sandringham, Windsor, Victoria, Balmoral, Buckingham and Kensington Houses.

It is with great pride that Gordon’s has paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II every year with the Patron’s Parade, and with the singing of the National Anthem at whole-school gatherings. Students have been honoured to take part in events attended by HM the Queen at Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey.

The school has also welcomed the HM The Queen’s son, HRH The Earl of Wessex on a number of occasions, most recently to unveil the renovated statue of General Gordon on a camel that has overlooked the Front Field of the school since its arrival from Sudan in 1959.

Last year, following the death of HM The Queen’s husband HRH Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, flags at the school were flown half-mast and the school’s Pipe Major played a Lament outside the Chapel in tribute.

Gordon’s School Headmaster Andrew Moss commented: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was very much a part of Gordon’s rich heritage and we were proud that she was Patron of the School, continuing an unbroken line of Sovereign Patrons since Queen Victoria. Her Majesty’s visit to the School in 1985, its Centenary Year is a treasured memory of Gordonians who witnessed the event.

“The School joins the nation in mourning Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose legacy of faithful leadership and selfless service will be remembered by generations and will inspire future generations.”

Categories: Gordon's School School News