College unites to remember the fallen

November 9, 2017

Havant & South Downs College staff and students came together on Thursday 9 November to pay their respects and remember those who gave their lives in service.

During the tribute a wreath was laid at the memorial to Royal Marine, Richard Hollington, a former South Downs College Public Services student who, in June 2010, became the 300th British Serviceman to die during the conflict in Afghanistan.

In remembrance of those service personnel who have given their lives in wars and conflicts, past and present, the College’s Uniformed and Public Services students paraded through the campus to Richard’s memorial, located at the heart of the College grounds.

Before the two-minute silence, Uniformed Services students Jack Blandford and Milly Johnson gave the readings ‘In Flander’s Field’ and ‘The Exhortation’.

Talking about the significance of the parade, Jack Blandford said: “I think it is important we remember our history and the people who gave their lives for our country.

“The service was well done and it’s brilliant to see the entire College coming together to show their respects.”

Milly Johnson said: “It is nice to see everyone from other courses coming together to pay their respects.

“Today gave the opportunity for everyone to be focused on the same thought for two minutes – it really unites the College.”

After the College paused to reflect on those who had fallen, College Director Ashley Grute presented the Richard Hollington Award to sports lecturer Oliver Jones for his commitment to the College and his students through a difficult time in his life.

Oliver Jones said: “Receiving the award was quite emotional really. I knew Richard when he was at College and I taught and coached him.

“It really is a privilege – I’m only doing my job at the end of the day.”

The parade ended with children from Little Faces Nursery placing crosses at Richard Hollington’s memorial before Cadet Sargent Major Ivan Austin brought the parade to attention and dismissed the Uniformed and Public Services students.

Ivan said: “The parade went really well today. It was because of everyone’s commitment and hard work from staff and students that it came together so well.”

Principal and Chief Executive at HSDC Mike Gaston said: “It is always a very moving and poignant ceremony where students and staff from across the College come together to remember those who served selflessly.

“I believe it is especially fitting that the future generation represented by our own nursery children joined us to lay their own poppies in thanks of those have given so much.”