Hampshire raises the flag to mark Commonwealth Day
Monday, 10 February 2014
The Commonwealth Flag will be raised in Hampshire on Monday 10 March 2014, to mark Commonwealth Day, along with 500 flags across the rest of the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
For the first time, local authorities and civic dignitaries, community groups and charities throughout the British Isles are taking part in local flag raising events and ceremonies of dedication to mark Commonwealth Day.
Hampshire';s event takes place in the Courtyard of The Great Hall in Winchester, during which Hampshire County Council Chairman, Councillor Ken Thornber will read a specially written Commonwealth Affirmation.
A message from Her Majesty, The Queen will be read by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan DCVO JP, before the raising of the Commonwealth Flag at 10am.
The flag will be jointly raised by young and upcoming Hampshire sports stars, gymnasts Laura Edwards from Brockenhurst and Kelly Simm from Whiteley, Judo athlete Sam Potts from Locks Heath, and netball player Mia Ritchie from Lymington. The quartet have had backing from the County Council's Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme which aims to help Hampshire's athletes reach world class podiums.
A bugler will perform a special fanfare whilst the flag is being raised, followed by songs performed by children from local schools; Western Church of England Primary School, and Prince's Mead School.
The Commonwealth flag was formally presented to County Council Chairman, Councillor Ken Thornber on Monday 10 February, by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan.
Chairman of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Thornber, said: "Hampshire welcomes new citizens from the Commonwealth every year, and it is right therefore that we invite new Hampshire citizens whose countries of origin are in the Commonwealth, to join our ceremony in March and take part in this unique act of dedication.
"The event has caught the imagination of thousands of participants across the country. It is a wonderful opportunity for Hampshire to connect with others nationwide in the widespread public expression of commitment to the Commonwealth, appreciation of the values it stands for, and the opportunities offered to its citizens around the world."
Elsewhere in the UK, charity teams will mark the day by taking Commonwealth flags to the top of the UK's four highest National Peaks and use the occasion to raise funds for their worthy causes: Cancer Research UK - Scafell Pike, England; Help for Heroes - Ben Nevis, Scotland; Walking with the Wounded - Mount Snowdon, Wales; and Fields of Life - Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland.
Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, Pageantmaster and originator of 'Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth', said: "This will be the largest, single raising of the Commonwealth Flag in the history of the Commonwealth. The success of this year's event bodes well for 2015 and the future as we extend the invitation to participate and involve all 53 countries of the Commonwealth and UK overseas territories, to make this the largest-ever annual occasion involving local communities throughout the worldwide Commonwealth family."
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.
"All our citizens, particularly the young, can express appreciation for the Commonwealth and the values for which it stands as set out in the Commonwealth Charter, and the rich opportunities it offers for mutual support towards more inclusive social and more equitable economic progress."