Citizenship ceremony chalks up a school ‘first’ – Part 2

Fifteen new British subjects went back to the classroom yesterday (Tuesday June 5)to receive their formal welcome to citizenship.

It was the first time in Buckinghamshire that a celebration of citizenship, normally associated with ornate ceremonial surroundings, has been hosted in a school, and followed a suggestion from the school governors.

The ceremony, at St Mary’s School, Aylesbury, was a celebration and reflection of how hard the 15 new citizens had worked to attain citizenship. The High Sheriff, Professor Ruth Farwell CBE DL, representing the Queen, reminded the new citizens of their journey to this point, and of the roles and obligations of a citizen.

The school hall resounded to the affirmation of allegiance to the Queen, and to the voices of 60 pupils from Year 5, who sang the National Anthem. Two pupils, Freya and Andrew, helped the High Sheriff present certificates and commemorative badges.

A delighted Professor Farwell said: “Involving the children made a very meaningful statement not just for the children but also for the new citizens.”

Buckinghamshire County Council Chairman Netta Glover joined the High Sheriff and other civic dignitaries to welcome the newly installed citizens, who come from Australia, Bangladesh, Colombia, France, Iran, Libya,Pakistan,Poland,Romania andRussia, andnow live in High Wycombe, Aylesbury, Amersham and Gerrards Cross.

St Mary’s Headteacher Pat Gurton said: “We were really excited to be invited to host this ceremony, and it proved a very moving occasion. It will do a great deal to help our pupils understand an important aspect of modern Britain, what it means to be a British citizen, and about the freedoms and security this brings.”

Noel Brown, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health, said: “It’s good that we attach a great deal of importance to becoming a British citizen, remembering that with citizenship rights come responsibilities. This ceremony is a great sense of occasion and makes a big impact, but it also provides a link into all sections of our community.

“Many thanks to the children for adding to the sense of importance and occasion.”