Head’s Blog 9th November Friday 9th November 2018

Welcome back after half term. I do hope yours was as restful and varied as mine.

The first week in November sees many opportunities to remember. We remember the saints who might provide models for our living and decision-making. We remember those in our families and amongst our friends who are no longer with us and ask for God‘s blessing on them. We remember and celebrate the failure of the gunpowder plot to blow up Parliament and we look forward to seeing many of you this evening for our celebration with fireworks and time together. It is always a very happy and well organised affair.

Perhaps the most sobering element of this week is our act of remembrance and respect for those who lost their lives in war.

This year, nationally, there is a particular emphasis on remembering those whose lives were lost and changed in World War I and we shall be sharing some stories from that time as we remember with the children and staff today. Our Tommy sculpture encapsulates our wish to provide a lasting reminder of the sacrifices made and in its design expresses both absence and presence. The Old Michaelians who gave their lives are remembered by name each year and thus they live on in the consciousness of the children and staff at St Michael’s today.

Our Service of Remembrance today was a moving and memorable occasion and it was lovely to be joined by so many parents, friends and neighbours.  Each child paid their respects in person and many left their poppies in the sandbags by our sculpture.

For the youngest children there are of course more questions than answers and if you are joining in on Sunday with the national act of remembrance through television, radio or physical participation in your local community, I hope that some of the children will use that time, as we have encouraged them to do, to reflect on all that they are grateful for and spare a thought for people they never knew who died to give them their quality of life today.

Jill Aisher

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As part of our commemoration of the end of WWI, we were delighted to hear a report from Year 3 pupil, D Booth, who told us about the brother of his great, great grandfather, who was awarded the Victoria Cross at the end of WWI.

Sgt Thomas J Harris served in the 6th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment).  He was sent to France in June 1915, wounded on two occasions in 1916 and returned to France in 1917. He reached the rank of Sergeant in 1918, during which time he saw action on the Somme and was awarded the Military Medal.

On 9th August 1918, Sgt Harris took part in an attack close to the small village of Ville-sur-Ancre, near Albert. He led his section under heavy fire in an attempt to capture and destroy machine gun posts to allow the 6th Battalion to advance. The first two attempts were successful and he showed immense gallantry and devotion in killing the enemy single-handed and capturing the guns, but during his third advance he was killed by machine gun fire. However, his example had inspired his men and the advance continued.

Sgt Harris was later posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for “most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in attack”.

 

We’ve had an exciting, spooktacular half term. The children have made and iced a delicious sponge cake in the shape of a pumpkin, a grisly-looking but yummy jellied brain containing wiggly edible snakes and created some rather tasty sausage mummies.

Lots of laughter and giggles echoed around the room as the children had their feet painted to create some splendid looking ghost, monster and mummy-footprinted pictures.
Scary pom pom eyeballs and dazzling Halloween suncatchers were made, pumpkin soaps and bat mosaic coasters were created and ceramic pumpkin tealight holders were beautifully hand painted.

In between all our spooky creativity, the children have also had opportunities to make spectacular autumnal mobiles, paint and design pictures for our new art gallery display wall, make autumnal wreaths and become professional garnish designers for a week in our very own Hive “Bake Off” extravaganza.

Thank you everyone for a truly terrifyingly fun-packed month.

We wish you all a Boo-tiful Halloween!

Mrs N Smith and The Hive team

The IAPS Cross Country is held at The Schools of Somerhill every year, with a long and quite hilly course around their park land. Some of our runners were very nervous about the course and others embraced it! The weather was fairly kind although there was a brisk breeze. Once again, St Michael’s pupils tried really hard in their races, showing great determination and effort!

With over 100 runners in each U11 and U9 race, the most notable performances were from: – U13 – B. Sinclair (11th), K. Cameron (33rd), U11 – E. Jones (32nd), O. Bowen (37th), A. Goodwin (39th), U9 Girls – E. MacKay (25th) and the best performance of the afternoon by far was from E Bingham who was right up there with the leaders and came 3rd, winning her a bronze medal. Very well done to all of our runners who completed the course.

Mrs C Wade

It is hard to believe that it is only a week since Gillian Lovatt-Young (the Headteacher at Shoreham Village School) and I returned from our trip to Tanzania. It was an amazing, challenging, eye-opening and life enhancing trip in so many different ways. I look forward to sharing the things we learned over the coming months.

We were fortunate enough to travel to Tanzania with Stephen and Sylvie Barbor, who co-ordinate the links between our diocese of Rochester and Mpwapwa Diocese of Tanzania. Mpwapwa is one of the four overseas partner dioceses, with which our diocese has, over many years, established successful long term partnerships. We were actually even more privileged to be travelling back to Mpwapwa with Bishop Jacob, who until May was the Archbishop of Tanzania and who is now the Bishop of Mpwapwa Diocese. Bishop Jacob was in the UK to attend the Rochester Clergy Conference, which happens every three years. Whilst he was here, Bishop Jacob visited us both here at St Michael’s and at Shoreham Village School and we held a welcome supper for him in Shoreham parish. It was useful for him to see the three partners this end who would be linking with somewhere in Mpwapwa Diocese.

You may recall that one of the reasons we decided to explore establishing a partnership in Mpwapwa Diocese was because of the historical connection with a former son of a Vicar. Almost exactly 145 years ago, Verney Lovatt Cameron travelled to Tanzania to work with the great explorer David Livingstone. When he got there he discovered that Livingstone had died and it was Cameron who arranged for Livingstone’s papers and diaries to be sent back to England. He is the reason why we know so much about what Livingstone discovered. Cameron decided to continue his journey across Africa and one of the areas he walked through would have been what is now the Diocese of Mpwapwa, about 400kms from the East coast.

When first crossing from Zanzibar to the East coast of Africa, the place that Cameron almost certainly would have started his journey from would have been the seaport of Bagamoyo. Nobody in our group, including Bishop Jacob, had been to Bagamoyo before, so we decided to do a slight detour on our 8 hour (fairly bumpy) route to Mpwapwa town. Bagamoyo was at the end of the slave traders’ route, which ran inland from there and goes past the Cathedral that has been built in Mpwapwa town. It was a fascinating place to visit but also sad to recall the cruelty that took place there.

Our itinerary continued to be full and more about that in subsequent newsletters but by way of summary, I am delighted to report that the parish of St Peter and St Paul Shoreham, Shoreham Village School and St Michael’s Prep School have partnered with St Joseph’s Church in Chunyu and with the primary and secondary school in Chunyu, a community mid-way between Mpwapwa town and Kongwa.

Revd Diane