Sunday, October 05, 2008

British Citizenship Ceremony - Capital of Culture style

We had a special British Citizenship Ceremony today, as part of the European Capital of Culture programme. Instead of the Register office we went to St George's Hall and the ceremony was watched by lots of VIPs - or "dignatories" as the staff prefer.

There was the Lord Mayor, Councillor Steve Rotheram and his wife Sandra, the Lady Mayoress, the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead and the former High Sheriff of Merseyside, Rosemary Hawley. There was the Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council and his wife, there was the lady who I sat next to, who was the Head of the Passport Office and the Leader and his wife and countless others. And there was me, Barbara Mace and Lawrence Sidorczuk who are on the list for "dignatory" service but we agreed that we are very lowly dignatories compared to most.

The new citizens must have been overwhelmed! Imagine, the service was in the small ballroom or concert room, which if you have never been inside, it is magnificent in gold leaf, truly gorgeous. There was a huge photo of the Queen on a stand - which we dont usually have - and all these VIPs making speeches to them. Dame Lorna in particular explaining to them that she was there directly on behalf of the Queen herself. And it was all filmed and there were lots of photos being taken.

And then, when we stood for the national anthem at the end, one of the registrar staff sang the words - and she was fantastic, apparently she performs at an amateur level, her first name was Tia, I didnt get her surname. She soared on the last note and there was a spontaneous round of applause and everyone was talking about how good she was.

We had high tea (albeit at 2pm) and I met a young man from the Ukraine, aged 16, who has settled in Southport with his mum after she married a Brit. He was very bright and engaging and told a reporter about his studies and how much he loves living in Britain. I am always immpressed with the new citizens, they are really dedicated people, including health professionals and university academics; people from countries all over the world and some really gorgeous children dressed in their Sunday best.

It was lovely, although a long way from our usual ceremonies, I hope word does not spread so that people expect that every time!

The photo that was used in the ceremony is reproduced above
Portrait of The Queen, taken in 2002
(c) John Swannell / Camera Press


scouseboy said...

I heard a report on this subject on Radio Merseyside this morning. As well as an interview with Steve Rotherham and some new citizens, They broadcast the registrar singing the national anthem. What an impressive singing voice she has.

Louise Baldock said...

I am doing the regular service again tomorrow, back to the register office and the normal routine. No high tea for us tomorrow. But it will be as moving as it always is, I know that for sure.

Incidentally, I have found out where the big photo of the Queen came from, that we used last Sunday during the service. It hangs in the Town Hall on the first floor in one of the state rooms. I saw it today when accompanying friends on a tour of the Town Hall!

Sian said...

Does anyone know how a Polish Lady who is now married to a British gentleman obtains British Citizenship please ?