The annual memorial service was organised by Thomas Deacon Education Trust (TDET) and the Thomas Deacon Foundation charity.
Key members and pupils from academies across the Trust came together to honour both Thomas Deacon and Katharine of Aragon, the namesakes of two of the Trust’s academies.
The service was led by Revd Dr Rowan Williams at Peterborough Cathedral, which is home to memorial sites for both historical figures.
Following an opening speech by Adrian Peters, Chair of Thomas Deacon Foundation, and a prayer from Executive Head of Thomas Deacon Academy, Rick Carroll, two Gladstone Primary Academy pupils gave a reading about Thomas Deacon and his achievements.
The service continued with readings from both Thomas Deacon Academy and Queen Katharine Academy’s Head Students. TDET’s Combined Cadet Force and Mini Cadets were then brought to attention to honour the laying of a wreath at the foot of the Thomas Deacon memorial and a pomegranate, Queen Katharine’s personal emblem, at her burial place.
The service concluded with a reading from Mick Gernon, Chief Executive of TDET, before the closing prayers.
Mick Gernon, Chief Executive of TDET, said: “It was an honour to remember and celebrate both Thomas Deacon and Queen Katharine of Aragon, and their inspirational legacies, in such a prestigious setting where both their memorials are situated. This year our service had extra significance as it marks 300 years since Thomas Deacon’s first school opened in 1722.
“This initial act of kindness is something that the Trust holds as its moral purpose in educating students in our city.
“Thomas Deacon and Queen Katharine of Aragon’s passion for education, and determination to make a difference, has helped to transform the lives of young people over so many years and will continue to do so long into the future.”
Lynn Mayes, Principal of Queen Katharine Academy, said: “We were proud to celebrate the contribution made by these early ambassadors for education. Queen Katharine of Aragon was inspirational in working to offer people the opportunity to better their lives. She displayed incredible tenacity, wisdom and generosity during her life, doing what was right, caring for others and never giving up. These are values that are as relevant to students and staff at Queen Katharine Academy today as they were in the 16th century, and we were honoured to celebrate her achievements.”