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 second year that ‘Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth’ has been held throughout the British Isles and Commonwealth countries and this year will see a total of 730 flags being raised.
In East Ayrshire, Council Leader Douglas Reid raised the Commonwealth flag at Council HQ in Kilmarnock while Ross Pryce from Mauchline Primary read the Commonwealth Affirmation and Ewan Rutherford from Loanhead Primary delivered a message from Her Majesty the Queen sending good wishes to everyone taking part in Commonwealth Day.
Pupils from some of East Ayrshire’s schools were invited along as the theme of this year’s Commonwealth Day was ‘A Young Commonwealth’. Scouts in The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Malaysia, Maldives, Republic of Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, Samoa, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago also raised the flag, joining thousands of other young people around the Commonwealth in the celebration.
Charity teams from ‘Fields of Life’, a charity linking Northern Ireland and Uganda, marked the day by taking Commonwealth flags to the top of the UK’s four highest National Peaks: Ben Nevis, Scotland; Scafell Pike, England; Mount Snowdon, Wales and Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland. And for the first time in maritime history, the Commonwealth flag was raised onboard all ships belonging to the fleets of the world’s leading cruise lines, P&O & Cunard Line, wherever they were travelling in the world that morning.
In another first, Royal Air Force Air Cadets also took part on the day, flying flags in each of the six regions of the Air Training Corps.
Councillor Douglas Reid said: “It is exciting to be part of this event for the second year running and particularly to have some of our young people 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: “After the success of the Glasgow Games only last year, it’s important that we continue to acknowledge our links and shared heritage, encouraging our young people to seize all the opportunity that our Commonwealth Family of Nations provides.”