Omagh High School’s Annual Remembrance Assembly took place on Friday 10 November 2017 in the school assembly hall with participating pupils coming mainly from Auchinleck House due to its military association. We were privileged to have guest speakers which included a very special visitor, former Second World War veteran from the Royal Signals, Sergeant Bob Lingwood, (now 99 years old), George Cowan, representing the Armed Forces, Canon Robert Clarke, Rector of Edenderry Parish Church, which has a close association with the Auchinleck family and Mrs Iris Clarke, Chairperson of the Board of Governors.
An introduction to the remembrance service was given by, Abi Hill and Rheanna Gilmore, then the opening prayer was led by Canon Robert Clarke and was followed by Nathan Preston and Orrin Bell with a personal reflection on their visit to the trenches of France and Belgium in May this year. Their presentation was accompanied by a presentation of photographs of their visit.
Readings on the meaning of the poppy then followed read by Andrew McPhillimy, Rachel Graham, Allister Adams-Bowles and Tyler Duncan of 8A and Tyler Donnell, Natalie Pinkerton, Reuben Baxter and Laura Hunter of 9A.
Jack Crawford, Head Boy, accompanied by Jack Gibson on the drum, both from 14A played ‘Going home’ and this was followed by a poetry reading, ‘In Flanders Fields’ by Andrew Beattie, Rebecca Galbraith and Nicole Beattie.
A poetry reading followed of ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Jemma Walker and Emma Galbraith.
The second address was given by George Cowan who spoke about the many roles of the Modern Day Army and this was followed by a moving rendition of Danny Boy performed by Rachael Bleasdale.
The third address was given by former Sergeant Bob Lingwood who talked about the work of the British Legion and their traditional poppy collections over the years and he gave the audience a very interesting account of how this tradition has developed over the years to its current format, which is such worthwhile way of raising funds to help servicemen and their families.
Samuel Alexander of 14A read out the Roll of Honour of past pupils and staff who had made the ultimate sacrifice and Mrs Elkin read the Ode to Remembrance while Head Boy, Jack Crawford and Head Girl, Jill Alderdice, laid a poppy wreath on the Remembrance Table. This was followed by a two-minute silence and the Last Post.
Canon Clarke closed the service with a prayer which was followed by the singing of the National Anthem and Mrs Burns thanked the visitors and all the students who had worked so hard preparing for the service and also the students attending the assembly who had so graciously shown their respect during the service of remembrance.
After the service, students in years 8-10 were invited back into the assembly hall to meet service personnel of the current army and were treated to demonstrations of equipment and presentations by army medics and military police forensics unit. Pupils also had the chance to experience virtual reality goggles, try on uniform and kit, ask questions about career opportunities in the Armed Forces as well as meeting the Irish Wolfhound, the Royal Irish Regiment mascot and an Army ceremonial horse. Pupils and teachers were also delighted to have had the very special opportunity to ask Mr Bob Lingwood questions and hear him share his experiences. We would like to thank all our visitors for taking part in our remembrance assembly as well as everyone who attended and made the Careers event afterwards such an exciting event.