On 1st February, Her Majesty The Queen visited Bath Abbey for a service to mark the 850th anniversary of the St John’s Foundation.
Originally founded as a medieval refuge, St John’s provides shelter and support for older adults, as well as working with children to make sure they have the best start in life. Her Majesty, as Duchess of Cornwall, became Patron of the charity in 2009.
Her Majesty began her visit to Bath by meeting St John’s Foundation almshouse residents for tea and cake in their chapel, St Michael Within. Her Majesty then made her way through the centre of Bath to arrive at Bath Abbey where she was greeted in the courtyard by over 600 school children, from five of the local schools the foundation works with.
The Service of Celebration started with a procession into Bath Abbey, which included The Queen, the Reverend Canon Guy Bridgewater, Rector of Bath Abbey and the Right Reverend Michael Beasley, the Bishop of Bath and Wells. The procession also included the Reverend Jackie Wise, the Chaplain of the St John’s Foundation, the Reverend Roger Driver, a trustee of the St John’s Foundation, Ben Fletcher, the Chair of Trustees and David Hobdey CEO, both of the St John’s Foundation.
Within the Abbey, over 600 guests gathered for the service, which paid tribute to the history and impactful legacy of the St John’s Foundation. Attendees heard a performance of ‘A Million Dreams’ and ‘Sing’ from the Voices for Life choir. The choir was made up of 90 year 4 pupils from the local schools the St John’s Foundation work with and was created especially for the occasion.
The renowned Bath Abbey Choirs performed two pieces for The Queen: Jubilate (Psalm 100) by Benjamin Britten and O Be Joyful in the Lord, all the earth.
During the Service, Her Majesty unveiled a commemorative 850th plaque commissioned for the occasion. The plaque will be laid within the St John’s city centre courtyard.
Following the Service, guests were invited to remain in the Abbey for a reception.