The annual Prize Giving ceremonies at New Hall School are always a cause for celebration. Last week’s events were no exception, as parents, friends and staff joined students collecting special awards from the independent Catholic school.
Joining the Years 10 to 13 students, on Thursday 25 June, was Guest of Honour, The Rt Hon Prof the Lord Alton of Liverpool KCMCO KCSG. David Alton began his career as a teacher and is now one of Britain’s longest serving and most senior parliamentarians. In 1997, he was appointed to the House of Lords where he serves as an Independent Crossbench Peer.
Amongst his many responsibilities, Lord Alton is a Foundation Governor of the Liverpool Bluecoat School and a Governor and Vice Chairman of Governors at Stonyhurst College, the world’s oldest Jesuit school. He is Chairman of Trustees of the charity, the Christian Heritage Centre. Among the international awards he has received are the Michael Bell Memorial Award for Initiatives for Life, The Mystery of Life Award, and the Advocates International Award for human rights work. Pope Benedict appointed him as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory, in recognition of his work for human rights and human life, and he is also a Knight of the Order of Constantine and St George.
Following the presentation of certificates, shields and cups, Lord Alton addressed the audience gathered for the end of year celebrations on the site once owned by King Henry VIII. He gave an insight into his 18 years as a member of the House of Commons and his later appointment to the House of Lords.
Lord Alton has campaigned for human rights and the sanctity of human life. This work has taken him into Burma, to North Korea, the favelas of Brazil, the Middle East, the Congo, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Darfur, Turkana, and other areas of conflict.
Students, parents and staff thoroughly enjoyed the informative talk and hearing how Lord Alton had lived and studied in Essex, and continued to follow New Hall’s success.
Along with members of the religious community, sisters from the Democratic Republic of Congo also attended this year’s event. Sister Marie-Rose was presented with a £1,950 charitable donation from the New Hall students, to aid them in their mission. She gave a speech about their work in the troubled country and how they are helping to improve lives, and restore dignity and confidence. Sister Marie-Rose also presented the school with a painting.
At the end of this special evening, the Year 13 leavers took part in the traditional Commissioning ceremony, as they prepare to leave New Hall and make their way in the world. They were watched by proud parents and supporters, before enjoying the end of a beautiful, warm, evening with refreshments on the lawn.