An Observance for Commonwealth Day 2010
Monday, 8th March 2010
An Observance for Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey on 8th March 2010 was attended by HM The Queen with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
HE Paul Kagame, The President of the Republic of Rwanda, and The Hon Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Chairperson-in-office of the Commonwealth, also attended.
In his Bidding, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said:
Commonwealth Day’s celebration this year of the achievement of science and technology has a particular resonance in the Abbey, which is home to the graves and memorials of Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and other great scientists. We shall give thanks for the advancement of science and for its exploration of God’s wonderful works.
In The Queen’s Commonwealth Day Message, Her Majesty said:
Experimentation, research and innovation means that more opportunities for improving people’s lives exist today than ever before. Take long-distance communication, where the obstacles of time and geography have been dramatically reduced: people can now use mobile phones to be in instant contact virtually anywhere in the world, be it with a medical centre in the Himalayan mountain in Asia, a Pacific island school, a research facility at the South Pole, or event the International Space Station beyond this planet altogether.
In making these advances the Commonwealth recognises that the best forms of innovation are those that unite and help build resilient partnerships and better societies as a whole.
The Queen laid a wreath at the grave and memorial of Isaac Newton in the Nave.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General HE Kamalash Sharma read the Act of Affirmation to the Commonwealth. Personal testimonies were given by Catherine Okumu, and Barathi Parsad.
The Address was given by Lord Winston, Professor of Science and Society and professor Emeritus of Fertility Studies at Imperial College, London.
Dato Lee Yee Cheong read Genesis 1: 26-end and Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales, read her poem A Wind From Africa specially commissioned for the Observance.
Peter Hatfield, the UK’s Young Scientist of the Year narrated an experiment demonstrating the force of friction.
There were performances from the New Commonwealth Voices, the Panache Steel Band, the singer/songwriter Freddie Kofi and the sitarist Dharambir Singh Dhadyalla.
The Choir of Westminster Abbey was directed by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers, and the organ was played Robert Quinney, Sub Organist.
The flags of 53 Commonwealth countries were paraded through the Abbey at the start of the service.