Her Majesty The Queen joined us to mark our 850th anniversary

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On 1st February, in a momentous occasion, Her Majesty The Queen joined us to mark our 850th anniversary.

Her Majesty began her visit to Bath by meeting our almshouse residents for tea and cake in our 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 800 school children from five of the local schools we work with through our Best Start in Life initiative (formally known as the Foundation Fund).

Within the Abbey, over 500 guests gathered for a Service of Celebration that paid tribute to our history and impactful legacy. Attendees included many of our direct beneficiaries, including older adults residing in our Chapel Court and Combe Park almshouses and local school children supported by our initiatives.

Guests heard a performance of ‘A Million Dreams’ and ‘Sing’ from the Voices for Life choir. The choir which was made up of 90 year 4 pupils from the local schools we work with, was created specifically for the occasion.

Following an address which outlined our future ambitions, our CEO David Hobdey invited Her Majesty up to unveil the commemorative 850th plaque commissioned for the occasion. The plaque will be laid within our city centre courtyard, a place which has been St John’s home for the last 850 years.

Reflecting on the service, David Hobdey said:

“It was an honour to have Her Majesty The Queen join us to celebrate our 850th anniversary. Her Majesty’s attendance made a very special day even more poignant, and we are so grateful to her for taking the time to meet our residents and join our Service.

It’s an incredible achievement to reach 850 years and humbling to think of all the historic events and upheavals that St John’s has survived. We are thankful to everyone who attended to help us mark this occasion. St John’s Foundation’s mission is to keep driving forward to continue addressing the needs in our community and changing lives, for good, for the next 850 years.”

Guests were invited to remain in the Abbey for a reception following the Service, where they heard from Executive Head of St Michael’s Church Junior School, Clare Greene, who spoke about the impact the Best Start in Life initiative has had on local under-served pupils.

Moving into the remainder of the year, we will be hosting several events to continue the 850th celebrations. These will aim to involve as many people in the community as possible, especially our direct beneficiaries, and aim to raise awareness of our extensive work in Bath and North East Somerset.