An Olympic rower was the special guest as St Catherine’s Day was celebrated by Monmouth School for Girls in a service at St Mary’s Priory Church today (Friday 23rd November).
St Catherine is the patron saint of the Haberdashers’ Company and, in her sermon, Debbie Flood encouraged pupils to embrace life, support each other and explore their gifts and abilities.
The three-time World Champion won silver medals for Great Britain at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
Ms Flood’s life’s plan was to row full-time for two years and then become a veterinary surgeon.
Instead, she enjoyed a rowing career of 15 years at the highest level, and worked as a prison officer.
“What matters most is the amount of effort you are willing to put into things,” said Ms Flood, who was Leander Rowing Club’s first female captain.
She was invited to Monmouth by the Chaplain at Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools, Reverend Clifford Swartz.
“We all have a purpose and value and I would encourage everyone to embrace life and take on those gifts,” she said.
Pupils, staff, guests and dignitaries, including The Master of the Haberdashers’ Company, Mr James Kininmonth, were treated to lovely performances by the Chamber Choir, Concert Choir and Junior Singers.
The choral items performed were extremely uplifting as were the hymns, traditional Latin Chant and the Haberdashers’ Company Grace.
The Chamber Choir gave fine performances of The Lily and the Rose (Chilcott) and Love Divine (Goodall).
Deputy Head Girl, Lisa, read the sentence of scripture and led the responses.
Deputy Head Girl, Katie, and Head Girl, Faisa, gave readings, while Deputy Head Girls, Mererid and Caitlin led prayers.
The Junior Singers rounded off the annual service with Huff’s delightful Sing With Me which saw the three choirs unite for a stunning finale.