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Westminster Abbey to host University of St Andrews Christmas service

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey will play host to a special University of St Andrews Christmas service this year.

Graduates from Scotland’s oldest University will gather in one of the most historic churches in the United Kingdom, as the University’s 600th anniversary celebrations draw to a close. Tickets have now been released for the service which will take place on Tuesday 10 December 2013 at 6.30pm.

More than 2,000 places have been made available at the service, which is being organised by the University’s London Alumni Club in collaboration with Westminster Abbey, as a commemoration of six centuries of the University. St Andrews graduates of all ages will gather to celebrate Christmas and mark this impressive milestone in the history of their University.

Welcoming the University to Westminster Abbey, the Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend John Hall said:

“I am delighted to welcome St Andrew’s graduates to the Abbey. We are all aware of the enormous contribution that the University’s alumni have made to life in the UK and overseas.

“It is a particular pleasure to be a part of the 600th anniversary celebrations.”

Founded between 1411 and 1413, St Andrews is the oldest University in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world. This Service of Thanksgiving will continue the alumni tradition of a Christmas gathering in the capital with festive carols, readings and a special Act of Commemoration for the University’s 600th anniversary.

Professor Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews said:

“We could think of no better way to mark the conclusion of our 600th anniversary celebrations than to hold a Service of Thanksgiving in the historic setting of Westminster Abbey.

“By coming together in fellowship and song we will express our gratitude to the wisdom and foresight of those who came before us, assume responsibility for those who come after us, and assert our confidence in the enduring value of a St Andrews education, as we set our path for the future.”

University Chancellor, Sir Menzies Campbell MP; and the Bishop of London, The Right Revered Richard Chartres, will take part in the service with representatives of Scotland’s Churches leading the prayers, and distinguished graduates and honorary graduates giving Christmas readings.

James North (MA, 2003), Chairman of the London Alumni Club, added:

“We are delighted to continue the tradition of St Andrews graduates gathering in the capital to celebrate Christmas and reunite with their friends from University. We are grateful to the Dean and Chapter of the Abbey for allowing our alumni community to come into such a historic place of worship and look forward to a magnificent evening.”

Guests will be greeted by a performance of the pipes and drums from the London Scottish Regiment, as they arrive at the Abbey on the evening. After the service guests will make their way to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and One Great George Street where two drinks receptions will be held.

The event will raise money for the London Scholarship Fund, which was established by the London Alumni Club in 2012 to allow young undergraduates from the Greater London area to study at the University.  More than £100,000 was raised last year and the first “London Scholar” has just begun their studies at St Andrews.

Alan Chalmers, Chairman of the Steering Committee responsible for the Service and Reception added:

“As alumni of St Andrews University we recognise the lasting benefits we have derived from having studied at that very special place.  We want to ensure that others, whatever their backgrounds, have the opportunity also to gain from that experience.  The London Scholarship Fund aims to provide a number of students the means to achieve this.”

Register for tickets.

Notes to Editors

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews.

Contact the office on 01334 462167.

View the University’s latest news at www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news

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