Nathan Swain was Junior Winner of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2015. He and his family visited the UK to attend the awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Commonwealth Essay Competition Prize Trip: 1st-21st October 2015

This page shows Nathan's time in London and in Surrey
See also:

More about the competition, Nathan's essay and Tristan photos: Commonwealth Essay Competition
The RCS Winners Week Events: RCSWinners Week
The Swains in the West Country: CECUKTrip20152
Nathan, Mark and Paula as guests of Alan and Ann Ashworth in Norfolk: RCS Essay Prize Trip 3

The family return home via Cape Town RCS Essay Prize Trip 4

Wednesday 21st October - last full day in London - photos from Chris Carnegy

Below left: A rare wet day in London showing the Swain family beneath the Tristan flag flying in their honour in Parliament Square (perhaps the visit of the President of China may also have had something to do with it).
Nathan's adventure with Shrek and the Tristan Flag
provides the photo of the tour so far!
(Tickets courtesy of Merlin Entertainments)
Visiting Kensington Museums:

Left: At the Natural History Museum
Above: Using Space Gloves at the Science Museum

Tuesday 20th October

The family took a River Thames cruise to Tower Bridge to get to The Tower of London. Later Chris Carnegy took them to see the musical Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre.

Chris' photo taken outside the theatre shows Mark, Nathan and Paula preparing for a special evening.

Monday 19th October

Tristan Desk Officer Jonathon Brown organised a day visiting the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Westminster Abbey. We will add photos when available.

Sunday 18th October

The family are shown with their hosts on Box Hill in Surrey:
Left to right: Paula, Nathan, Gwynneth, John and Mark.

Earlier the group attended a local Church service and later John returned the family to their London hotel by train ready for their final few days in the capital.

It is the first time the Swain family have been to the UK, or been on a plane.

Saturday 17th October

John and Gwynneth Cooper drove the family to Old Marston Church Hall near Oxford where they attended a Reception in honour of Nathan's achievement to coincide with a committee meeting of the Tristan da Cunha Association.

Gwynneth took the family by bus into central Oxford in the morning and they returned in time for lunch.

Left: Nathan alongside Tristan Islander Rev Lorna Lavarello-Smith (both on their phones) with Paula and Mark behind.

Above Left:
Nathan leading the buffet queue

Left to Right: Lorna Lavarello-Smith, Brian Frederick,
Richard Grundy, John Cooper, Clive Elliott,
Paula Swain, Ian Mathieson, Nathan Swain,
Michael Swales, Mark Swain, Cindy Buxton,
Mike Hentley and Keith Schurch.
(See the Committee Page for a larger photo and further information on the Association Committee)

Nathan cutting the 'Congratulations' cake made by Gwynneth Cooper with Rev Lorna Lavarello-Smith alongside and Brian Frederick looking on behind.

Following the Tristan tradition the buffet was provided by those attending and included home made cakes, savoury tarts and other savouries.

Friday 16th October

The family had a free day in London during which they went on the London Eye. In the afternoon they were met by their weekend hosts John and Gwynneth Cooper who took them by train to their Surrey home.

Thursday 15th October

The winners' week highlight was an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace on where HRH The Duchess of Cornwall presented the winners with their prizes on behalf of HM The Queen, Patron of the competition. Afterwards there was a tour of Buckingham Palace, lunch at a Pizza Express and in the afternoon a tour of the BBC's London HQ. Guests were not allowed to take cameras into the palace and we await official photos. See also the RCS blog and link to their film on: CECRCS Winners Week

Right: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, presents Nathan Swain with his certificate as the Winner of the 2015 Queen's Essay Competition run by the Royal Commonwealth Society in Buckingham Palace.
(Photo from the RCS Film of the event courtesy of Alan Ashworth)

The Duchess of Cornwall with the 2015 Queen's Essay Competition winners during their presentation ceremony on 15th October

On Wednesday 14th October there was trip to Cambridge

Photo right shows the group including Nathan, Paula and Mark Swain (3rd-5th left) during their visit to Cambridge organised by the Cambridge University Press who sponsored the competition.

Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th October

Photos from Paula Swain

Visit to the High Commission of Cyprus including this writing workshop On the tube
Monday afternoon-
At the viewing platform
on The Shard - on top of London!!!
Tuesday morning tour of the Houses of Parliament - Palace of Westminster

Sunday 11th October: Arrival in London

Photos from Chris Carnegy who met the family and looked after them during their amazing first day in the big city.

Arriving in the Heathrow Terminal at 06.54 On top deck of the 139 bus up Regent Street
In Trafalgar Square with Nelson's Column behind. Their London Hotel is nearby where they will settle in on Sunday night ready for the first day of winner's week on Monday 12th October. Nathan outside Hamleys where he chose:
- a miniature drone (from Mark and Paula)
- a telescope (gift from the Tristan Government)
- a boomerang (from Chris)


Nathan, Mark and Paula Swain left their home on Thursday 1st October, boarding a helicopter on the American Fence helipad (also the St Mary's School playing field and cattle pasture) to be flown to the awaiting SA Agulhas for the 2810 km or 1750 mile journey to Cape Town, likely to take at least five days.

Photos from Tina Glass taken on 1st October show:
Left - Nathan alongside his parents Mark and Paula preparing to board the Agulhas helicopter;
Above - Nathan with SA Agulhas II at anchor and the helicopter in flight coming in to land.

Forward Itinerary

Thursday 22nd - Sunday 25th October
The family will travel by train from Waterloo to Gillingham in Dorset, and continue by road to Somerset to stay with Richard and Margaret Grundy (Richard taught both Mark and Paula in the 1980's and is now Newsletter and Website Editor). On Friday 23rd they will visit Lyme Regis where they will tour the Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy. Nathan's essay describes his ambition to become a carpenter like his father, and to build boats. Here is an opportunity to see traditional boat building in wood in a modern context.

Sunday 25th October onwards
The family will travel by train to Norfolk via London to stay with Ann and Alan Ashworth, who the family know from their visits to Tristan.

Monday 2nd November
The family depart London Heathrow for Cape Town where they arrive back on Tuesday 3rd November.

Wednesday 18th November
MV Baltic Trader is the last scheduled ship to Tristan da Cunha in 2015. It will carry the Christmas mail, precious fresh fruit and vegetables, and hopefully Nathan, Mark and Paula to return home about 26th November, no doubt full of memories as they prepare for Christmas.