London’s most iconic street, Whitehall was brought to a halt on Saturday as some 250 students from Gordon’s School, together with their Pipes and Drums, marched to the General Gordon statue 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.
Bugler Andrew Milne from the school sounded the Last Post and wreaths were laid at the foot of the statue by Head Boy Jack Bodell and representatives of the Gordon family and Gordonians.
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 their Blues.
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. The service was led by the Reverend Canon Dr Paul Smith, Canon Liturgist and Canon Paul Thompson delivered the annual Gordon Sermon.