From Tonga to East Ayrshire, local authorities, community groups and charities have marked Commonwealth Day by taking part in the largest ever, single raising of the Commonwealth flag.
This is the third year that ‘Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth’ has been held throughout the British Isles and Commonwealth countries and this year saw a total of 850 flags being raised.
In East Ayrshire, Council Leader Douglas Reid raised the Commonwealth flag at Council HQ in Kilmarnock. Pupils from New Farm Primary School, representatives from the LGBT community, local sports clubs, the Equality Forum and the Access Panel were invited along as the theme of this year’s Commonwealth Day was ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’.
Pupils Sam Cooper, Jonathan Duffy, Daniel Auld, Rachel McSkimming and Erin Muir read out a message from Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma while Caitlyn Baird delivered the Commonwealth Affirmation.
Commonwealth flags were being flown at many locations of special significance including six locations on the Island of the Republic of Malta; in Tristan Da Cunha, the most remote of the United Kingdom Overseas Territory; in St. David’s in Pembrokeshire, the westernmost city in Wales; in Carlisle in Cumbria, the northernmost city in England; in Lowestoft in Suffolk, the easternmost town in England; in Unst in the Shetland Islands, the most northerly inhabited island in Scotland; at the Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula; at the Halley VI Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf; and at King Edward Point and on Bird Island in South Georgia.
Councillor Douglas Reid said: “It is exciting to be part of this event for the third year running and particularly to have members of our community involved so that we can all demonstrate our appreciation of the Commonwealth, the opportunities it offers and the values it stands for.”
Councillor Tom Cook, Leader of the Conservative Group and Depute Leader of the Council, added: “Marking Commonwealth Day in this manner reminds people of history of Britain and the Commonwealth and the opportunities it has provided for people throughout the world to come together under a common flag, irrespective of race, colour or religion.”
Leader of the Labour Main Opposition, Councillor Maureen McKay, said: “It is important that we celebrate this day and continue to acknowledge our links and shared heritage, encouraging our young people to seize all the opportunity that our Commonwealth Family of Nations provides.”