My Son Reads At Southwark Cathedral

St Dunstans College where my son is a pupil hold a Commemoration Service annually at Southwark Cathedral -  the whole school attends, they even hire a train to take them all there, a fact that I find thrilling, conjuring up as it does thoughts of Orient Express journeys or even of the Hogwarts Express. Ben is a bit more blase about it - "really Mum, it's only from Catford to London Bridge" - a fact that's quite irrelevant to my mind.

Every year three readers are chosen, one from each of the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools and this year Ben has been chosen to represent the latter and read the last four verses of Laurence Binyon's 'For The Fallen'. It's also his birthday today (15 already, how did that happen?) When it is his turn to read he looks calm, reads with great clarity and expression and I nearly burst with pride (internally of course to avoid any accusations of being an embarrassing parent). 

Afterwards Ben tells me his legs were shaking the whole time. I tell him that's the good thing about presentation nerves, they don't show on the outside nearly as much as you think they do (being behind the podium might have helped too). Did being chosen to read help make for a great birthday I wonder? Yes, but  having to get to the cathedral early meant he didn't go on the special train (I obviously more disappointed than him) and also that his drama group ate his birthday cakes without him... It's a hard life.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.



They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;

They sit no more at familiar tables of home;

They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;

They sleep beyond England’s foam.



But where our desires are and our hopes profound,

Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,

To the innermost heart of their own land they are known

As the stars are known to the Night;



As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,

As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,

To the end, to the end, they remain.
— From 'For The Fallen' - Laurence Binyon