It was with a flourish and applause that the sculpture welcoming pupils, families and guests to the Sixth Form Centre was unveiled last night. It was a poignant occasion as the Guest of Honour was Dr Rosemary Hill; it was the poem ‘Come to the Edge’ by her late husband the poet and former pupil of The Portsmouth Grammar School, Christopher Logue, that inspired the sculpture.
The unveiling of the sculpture by Stephen Hitchin was the beginning of an evening of celebration as the school community gathered for the annual Prizegiving ceremony to recognise the success and achievements of the last academic year, with over 200 awards being handed out to Senior School pupils.
“The Prizegiving Ceremony is our opportunity to honour the extraordinary achievements of our pupils in the last academic year,” says Headmaster, Mr James Priory, “and to celebrate and inspire everyone to ensure our school community continues to be a special place to learn and grow.”
Dr Rosemary Hill is herself a writer and historian. She is a contributing editor to The London Review of Books and the author of the prize-winning books: ‘God’s Architect’, a life of the Gothic Revival architect, AWN Pugin, and ‘Stonehenge’, a history of one of Britain’s greatest and least understood monuments. During the 1980’s she met Christopher Logue and they were married for 26 years until his death in 2011. Logue became known for his short, pithy and often political poetry, but it is his retelling of The Iliad in modern verse for which he is most celebrated.
In Dr Hill’s speech to pupils at the ceremony she encouraged pupils to believe in what they do and to embrace life’s often difficult journey, “Lives and careers can often take a zig-zag course,” she said. “What we learn at school is not necessarily what is taught. You may be on the edge of one thing right now and on your way to the next, although life at that moment of change is not always comfortable. Embrace and believe in what you do.”
Dr Hill closed by reading one of Christopher Logue’s pieces of poetry, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. In an evening which celebrated the achievements and dedication of pupils and staff over the last year and looking to our pupils’ future, it was a fitting way for the evening to end.
O come all ye faithful
Here is our cause:
All dreams are one dream,
All wars civil wars.
Lovers have never found
We who hate change survive
Only through change.
Those who are sure of love
Do not complain.
For sure of love is sure
Love comes again