Today’s minutes of silence and reflection are not merely for the Great War but for those who have suffered since then and who suffer today : soldiers and civilians; the doctors, nurses, charity volunteers and journalists who try to save lives and to broadcast the news to make us all aware of what is happening, thereby perhaps entreating all sides to sit down and talk.
Looking forwards eight months to next August, Highclere is going to be again transformed into a hospital. Almina Carnarvon one of my predecessors, rolled up her sleeves, designated herself head matron here and set about nursing the soldiers returning desperately injured from the Front as early as September 1914. It is a remarkable story of courage and dedication, of excellent nursing skills and a gift for healing. It is about saving lives and helping them heal mentally as well as physically.
I hope we can remember what she did and contribute in a practical way on that day, through sponsorship of the events around the Castle, the plane displays, car displays, horses, medics and doctors who work in today’s wars. We hope to stand together with all those whose people fought and died, whichever side they were on. The money raised can be focused on helping veterans from different countries, or doctors and efforts to support refugees in Syria for example. Highclere is fortunate to be most recognisable so we can demonstrably help in different ways as well as welcome many visitors to Highclere on that day.