As a mark of respect to the 177 World War One fallen Old Dovorians, Dover College held a passionate service in the College memorial chapel on Remembrance Sunday. The service incorporated an unveiling ceremony of a statue of Captain Wilfred ‘Billie’ Nevill. Billie led the renowned football charge, kicking a ball into No Man’s Land against the enemy on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Sculpted by talented sculptor Hannah Stewart, ‘Billie’ now stands proudly in the centre of the College campus dressed in his uniform, with the football at his feet, looking out across The Close contemplating what lies ahead. The statue serves as a lasting memorial to the 177 Old Dovorians who died in the Great War, sacrificing their lives for freedom and justice.
The Headmaster, Mr Gareth Doodes, delivered a powerful, thought provoking address bringing home the enormity of the challenge faced by young men who as boys ran around the Close, sat in the seats we sit in today, played in the school teams and worked hard for their bright futures which were cut short by the onset of war.
Pupils across the College marked one of the most notable dates in the College’s history by creating a sea of red poppies across the lawn inspired by the ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ display at the Tower of London in November 2014. Each of the fallen Old Dovorians was represented by an individual poppy produced using recycled materials including plastic spoons which were melted down to create the vibrant petals.
Guests to the College on Remembrance Sunday, included parents, pupils, staff, Governors, Old Dovorians and local dignitaries, who concluded the day with a hot mug of soup and chunky bread in the College’s Refectory. The oldest Refectory in England still used for the purpose for which it was built was lined with pupil works paying tribute to those that had gone before them.