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600th anniversary service of thanksgiving

The Principal, the Lord Mayor, the Dean of St Paul’s, James North – with the new London Alumni Club mace, being carried by graduate Mark Hayhurst , outside St Paul’s.

The Principal, the Lord Mayor, the Dean of St Paul’s, James North – with the new London Alumni Club mace, being carried by graduate Mark Hayhurst , outside St Paul’s.

A clutch of celebrities will join University of St Andrews’ London alumni and friends to celebrate the University’s 600th Anniversary and its seventh century of exploration with a service of thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral on tomorrow (Thursday December 20, 2012).

Bill Bryson, Jack Vettriano, Anna Ford, Peter Allis, Lord Robertson and Crispin Bonham-Carter will be among the congregation and will deliver readings set within a special composition by Paul Mealor, which will be premiered at the event. The music, commissioned specially for the occasion by the London Alumni Club, will be performed by the St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, Thomas Wilkinson (Organ) & the State Trumpeters of Her Majesty’s Life Guards, and conducted by Michael Downes.

In the presence of Her Royal Highness The Princess Alexandra, over 2,000 guests will join in the commemoration of six centuries of people and ideas. Founded between 1411 and 1413, St Andrews is the oldest University in Scotland the 3rd oldest in the English-speaking world. The New Year will mark the finale year of the University’s 600th Anniversary celebrations, with a focus on the University’s future as a centre of academic excellence.

Speaking ahead of the service The Viscount Younger of Leckie, a graduate of St Andrews and Chairman of the Carol Service Steering Committee said:

“This promises to be a unique and memorable evening for St Andrews. The highlight will be a fantastic Service in St Paul’s including some moving music and readings; afterwards the whole congregation is invited to a reception nearby to renew old friendships.”

The Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and senior officials of the University will attend, along with representatives of Scotland’s other ancient universities. The Sermon will be given by the Archbishop of York, and leading representatives of Scotland’s Churches will lead the prayers.

The Service of Thanksgiving will also see the newly commissioned London Alumni Club mace make its first public appearance in an official University ceremony.

This is the first time in its 600 year history that the University of St Andrews has held a Service of Thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral. It is a fitting communion as the face of St Paul is depicted on the seal or ‘bulla’ attached to the papal bull issued in 1412 which granted the University of St Andrews the authority to award degrees.

Attendees will be encouraged to donate to the creation of a new, £75k London Scholarship fund, to allow future students to study at St Andrews.

The whole event has been supported by a series of corporate partners, including SWMitchell Capital, Swarovski, and Jaguar Land Rover.

Notes to News Editors

Photographers are invited for arrival shots outside St Paul’s Cathedral on Thursday 20 December 2012 at 7pm. The Service of Thanksgiving will commence at 7.30pm.

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