An Observance for the Commonwealth

On Wednesday 25th April Y2 spent a fantastic day in Durham taking part in workshops and learning about the Countries of The Commonwealth. Our lady and St Thomas was one of the 53 schools chosen within the County Durham Lieutenancy, to take part in a celebration and An Observance for the Commonwealth Project.
Year 2 were representing The Seychelles and we had spent time in school learning facts about the country like; Where is it in the world? How far is it away from London? What is the capital called? Who is the head of state? We also made flags of the country which we took with us on the day ready to wave as we walked in the parade.
Our morning began in the Town hall where we sat at two huge round tables. There were lots of activities for us to do where we could use what we knew about The Seychelles. There was also a very tricky quiz where the names of Commonwealth countries were jumbled up and all we had was a picture of flags and countries to use as a clue. There were word searches and crossword puzzles all linked to the Commonwealth. Durham University Students from all over the Commonwealth helped us and were very impressed with the way our children solved the puzzles.
After a snack and a biscuit we then joined other schools and had a lesson of Bollywood dancing. Even the teachers got involved and joined in. Everyone thought it was brilliant and by the end of the session we could perform two whole dances. It was tiring work and we were ready for our lunch.
After lunch we assembled in the market place and there was a steel band playing and the sun was shining. It made us all feel like we were on holiday and we waved our flags. We met up with our designated mini police and they escorted us as we followed the flag bearers. A drummer led the parade and we waved our flags in the sun as we paraded up to the Cathedral.
At the Cathedral we were met by the Bishop and he was very interested in seeing all the schools that were in the parade. We walked through an archway of flags and entered the Cathedral. What a sight met our eyes. The columns inside were turned pink, and red and green and yellow all through projected lights. There were gasps of “Ahh!” And “Oooh” from the children, and a lot of the adults too. It looked amazing and then we couldn’t believe our luck as we were seated in the front row.
The service began with everyone singing the National Anthem and the Commonwealth flags were paraded through the Cathedral. The Bishop and Dean spoke, and then The Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Snowdon gave a short welcome speech.
The children had been practicing a number of songs which they sang throughout the service. The sound of nearly 2,000 voices ringing throughout the Cathedral was amazing. Hymns were sung by both the Choristers and the County Youth Choir and it was lovely to see and hear one of our ex pupils singing.
We were treated to a performance of traditional Indian dances. The children were mesmerised by the beautiful costumes and the way a story was told though gestures of hands and feet.
At the end of the service we stayed behind to have a look around the Cathedral and found St Cuthbert’s tomb and were able to go and look at it. We had a fabulous day and everyone enjoyed themselves and hopefully will remember the day for a long time.

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