Thursday, November 27, 2008

Very moving citizenship ceremony

My latest citizenship ceremony was really moving and there were quite a lot of tears. I always enjoy them and there is always a good feeling, but this one was for some reason particularly special. There were 17 new citizens, only one from Africa this time, whereas often there is a good number. They were from Asian countries in the main, rather than African ones, and a couple of Eastern Europeans too.

I met a lovely middle-aged lady from the Ukraine who I shared a few tears with and a very nice man from perhaps Poland or Bulgaria who was marrying his British girlfriend this weekend. (I do read the certificates which detail where people were born but I cannot recall in this case where he was from). We shared a few tears too. There were a few Indians, with lots of gorgeous children and a couple from Kensington too who came over after the ceremony to chat to me.

I don't know why it is that some weeks it is very nice but not overly emotive and other weeks we all feel particularly uplifted and moved?

Colin came me with me on this occasion as he had not sat in on a ceremony before and I think he really enjoyed it.

We go through the service, the registrar officiates, people pledge or affirm allegiance, I make a speech as the "dignatory" of the day, then hand out each certificate to each new citizen, individually, and now we are also giving them a passport application form, a form to go on the electoral register and a silver medal/coin to commemorate the conferring of their British Citizenship in Liverpool. They are really good, I would be made up to get one of those, I am very impressed with them.

Then we stand for the national anthem. Then when the service is concluded I bring the flag, on a stand, out into the middle of the room and we do lots of photos, me with the new citizens and the flag, and then me with them and their families and then them without me (which I expect they are quite glad of by that point), and them with the registrar staff. This time the queue went on for a good while and one lady asked me if my cheeks were aching with all the smiling.

Actually I was too busy holding back tears.

I have done about 8 ceremonies this year and have enjoyed every single one but this one was my favourite so far. I am very happy for anyone to come with me, to see what it is all about, get in touch if you would like to join me, Lisa and little green Isaac are coming to my next one in a fortnight.

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