Flag raising ceremonies celebrate Commonwealth

Town clerk Mark Recchia, duty manager Pete Lake, Cllr Tina Wren, and leader of Banbury Town Council Kieron Mallon as they prepare to raise the Commonwealth Flag. NNL-151203-163541001
Town clerk Mark Recchia, duty manager Pete Lake, Cllr Tina Wren, and leader of Banbury Town Council Kieron Mallon as they prepare to raise the Commonwealth Flag. NNL-151203-163541001

Banbury was among 650 towns in 38 countries to take part in a flag-raising ceremony in commitment to the Commonwealth on Monday.

The ceremony, which saw the Commonwealth Flag raised at the town hall, also saw Banbury Town Council leader Kieron Mallon read out a specially-written Commonwealth Affirmation.

Cllr Mallon said: “Banbury is proud to recognise the Commonwealth which consists of countries that were part of the British Empire and wish to retain links with Great Britain.

“We raised the Commonwealth Flag as a tribute to Britain’s influence around the world. The fact these now independent countries choose to stay in the Commonwealth should be celebrated.”

The Queen sent a message of encouragement, saying: “I am pleased to learn that so many people will be taking part in the ‘Fly a Flag’ initiative on Commonwealth Day this year.

“I understand that a record number of Commonwealth flags will be raised and I send my good wishes to all who are taking part.”

The ceremony was organised by pageantmaster Bruno Peek who has been behind celebrations for the Queen’s gold and diamond jubilees.

He said: “I am delighted that Banbury raised a flag as part of this magnificent occasion.”

Brackley also flew the flag for the Commonwealth in a ceremony outside the town hall.

Year 6 pupils and staff from Southfield Primary Academy were joined by members of the Royal British Legion (Brackley Branch), clergy and Brackley town councillors. Mayor Elaine Wiltshire read the Commonwealth Affirmation.

Flags were also raised on water with 11 ships of P&O and Cunard Line raising the Commonwealth flag at various locations around the world.