Abbey marks Diamond Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh attended a Service of Thanksgiving to Celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award at Westminster Abbey at Noon on Thursday 24th November 2016. They were accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding: 'We gather in the presence of almighty God to celebrate the gifts we have received at God’s hands, of humanity, of body, mind and spirit, and to commit ourselves afresh to the use of our gifts for the greater good of our families, our communities and nation, our environment and world.

'We celebrate in particular The Duke of Edinburgh’s foundation of the Award, and His Royal Highness’s commitment to its success over the past sixty years, together with the untold numbers of volunteers who have given their time and enthusiasm, and the constantly growing number of young people benefiting from the Award’s challenge and achievement.

'We pray that all young people may grow to be strong, good, and true, and may learn that it is better to give than to receive, and to serve than to be served.'

At the start of the service, the Royal Charter of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award was borne through the Abbey and placed on the High Altar.

Testimonies were read by Hannah Cockroft MBE, Paralympic Gold medallist; and Thomas Wainwright, Duke of Edinburgh's Award holder.

Peter Westgarth, Chief Executive, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, read 1 Chronicles 16: 23-34; and Jon Culshaw, impressionist and Duke of Edinburgh's Award Ambassador, read Ephesians 1: 3-10.

The Address was given by The Earl of Wessex.

Laura Wright, soprano, sang Handel's Let The Bright Seraphim.

The prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Precentor, and said by: Dhruvi Patel, The Swaminarayan School, Neasden; Philip Schofield, broadcaster and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Diamond Challenger; Daniel Gold, volunteer Young Leader, the Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade; Is'Haaq Jasat, teacher, Tawhid Boys School, Stamford Hill; and the Reverend David Stanton, Canon in Residence.

The National Anthem was sung after the Dean had pronounced the Blessing.

The service was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, conducted by James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Daniel Cook, Sub-Organist, and before the service by Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist.

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© 2017 The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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