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Shropshire Council

Raising of the Commonwealth Flag planned on Shirehall on 14th March

On Monday 14th March 2016 at 10am the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Colonel Edmund Thewles, and the chief executive of Shropshire Council, Clive Wright, will raise the Commonwealth Flag during a ceremony at Shirehall in Shrewsbury. Members of the public are welcome to observe the raising of the Commonwealth Flag.

More than 850 Commonwealth Flags will be raised in locations throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK Overseas Territories, and Commonwealth countries on Monday 14th March – Commonwealth Day 2016.

Heads of State, Prime Ministers; Lord Mayors and Mayors, Lord Provosts; Town Councils and Local Authorities; school children and college students; ‘members of Girlguiding’ and Scouts from around the UK and Commonwealth; Sea, Army, and Air Cadets; charities and community groups; Commonwealth Ex-Servicemen and major shipping lines and disabled crewman and women manned ships, and many others around the world will join to raise more than 850 Commonwealth Flags at 10am local time on Monday 14th March – Commonwealth Day 2016, in a shared celebration of this amazing family of nations that encompasses the globe.This unique initiative, now in its third year, is again catching the imagination of thousands of participants from all walks of life, inspiring them to join with others throughout the Commonwealth. As a collective public expression of commitment to the Commonwealth, it enables participants to show appreciation for the values the Commonwealth upholds, and the opportunities offered for friendship and cooperation with fellow Commonwealth young and old citizens around the world.

Commonwealth Flags will be flown at many locations of special significance including at 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. The list of local Flag raising ceremonies and imaginative locations continues to grow.

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.

Our Commonwealth theme will be: ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’. This offers possibilities for building on work undertaken in 2015 when out theme was ‘A Young Commonwealth’, and the principle of inclusiveness could be interpreted in a variety of ways according to context. The theme for 2016 encourages understanding and further explorations of Commonwealth collaboration in fields as gender equality and the post-2015 development goals.

“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.

We encourage public institutions, schools, civil society organisations and the media in a Commonwealth member states to consider how ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ can be promoted through their activities – including Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth”.

Lord Howell, President of The Royal Commonwealth Society said ” The Royal Commonwealth Society is proud to be associated with Fly a Flag on Commonwealth Day and welcomes the flying of the Commonwealth Flag over public buildings throughout the whole Commonwealth network. Flying the Flag brings us all together in a great family of Nations, seeking to work together to help a troubled world.”