More than 850 Commonwealth Flags were raised in locations throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK Overseas Territories, and Commonwealth countries and on Monday 14 March – Commonwealth Day 2016.
Heads of State, Prime Ministers; Mayors; school children and college students; Girl Guides, Scouts and many other organisations from around the UK and Commonwealth came together at 10.00 a.m. local time to raise more than 850 Commonwealth Flags, in a shared celebration of this amazing family of nations that spans all continents.
In the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough school children from Garvagh Primary School joined The Mayor, Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan to raise the Commonwealth flag. Speaking ahead of the event the Mayor commented, “This event enables those taking part to show appreciation for the values the Commonwealth upholds, and the opportunities offered for friendship and co-operation with young and older citizens around the world.
“This year’s commonwealth day theme is ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’. This celebrates that in a Commonwealth of more than two billion people, every one of us has something unique to offer.”
“In Tonga, where time begins, the Girl Guides Association there have the honour to be the first country in the world to raise the Commonwealth Flag at 10.00 a.m. I am delighted to be marking Commonwealth Day in our Borough with the Principal and pupils of Garvagh Primary School.
Prior to raising the Commonwealth flag the Mayor presented the School with a copy of the Charter of the Commonwealth signed by Her Majesty The Queen. She also handed over a personal message from His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and encouraged schools and organisations in the community to consider how “An Inclusive Commonwealth” can be promoted through their activities.
Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR – Originator and Commonwealth Pageantmaster, of ‘Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth’, said: “I am amazed how quickly this event has caught the public imagination in so many Commonwealth countries and are delighted to be involving The Royal Commonwealth Society in the project this year. We are only in our third year, and the involvement of so many people of all ages and from all walks of life shows the enormous potential of this project and of the Commonwealth.
“It is a positive and uplifting way for people to link with fellow citizens of the Commonwealth in a family that spans across oceans and continents. There is a real sense of promise, and hope for the future in this current troubled world of ours. We also celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday on the 21st April this year, so marks a special occasion for the Commonwealth too, especially as The Queen is it’s Head.”
His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth said, “Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth is a most imaginative way for people in local communities – wherever they live, learn or work – to join together with others throughout the Commonwealth in a spirit of respect and understanding to celebrate the variety and unmatched diversity of our global family. I welcome and commend it.
“An inclusive Commonwealth’ refers to the values of tolerance, respect and understanding, as well as equity and fairness, set out in the Commonwealth Charter, and the richness of the Commonwealth as a family of nations in which each member state is valued equally and has an equal voice. In uncertain times, the need for the Commonwealth to act as an inclusive network for mutual support and development is a great as ever.”
Further information on ‘Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth 2016’ please visit www.flyaflagforthecommonwealth.co.uk.