THE Mayor of Sunderland is inviting people to join him when he raises the flag for the Commonwealth next month.
Sunderland’s flag will be one of over 650 raised across 38 Commonwealth countries at 10 am on Monday 9 March.
Last year’s inaugural event was the largest, single flag raising in the history of the Commonwealth. It saw Her Majesty The Queen and over 500 councils and community groups throughout the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man raising the flag in celebration of Commonwealth Day.
This year, the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Stuart Porthouse is calling on Sunderland people to join him at the city’s flag raising ceremony at the Civic Centre in Burdon Road.
The Mayor said: “We’re delighted to be joining people in countries across the Commonwealth in taking part in this very special day. Everyone is welcome and we’d be especially delighted to see residents who originally hail from Commonwealth countries coming along to join us on the day.
“Sunderland people have always been very welcoming to people from other countries and this is a great opportunity to celebrate the Commonwealth and the values it stands for.”
The event is taking place at Sunderland Civic Centre. People are invited to arrive from 9.30 am. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served outside the Council Chamber from 9.40 and the ceremony itself will begin at 10 am prompt.
Major Eric Ingram, Deputy Lieutenant
of Tyne and Wear, will read out a message of ‘good wishes’ from Her Majesty The Queen.
This will be followed by the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Stuart Porthouse reading out the Commonwealth Affirmation and raising the flag.
Nationally charity teams are marking the day by taking Commonwealth Flags to the top of the UK’s four highest National Peaks and using the occasion to raise funds and profile for their causes. For the first time in maritime history, the 11 ships of P & O and Cunard Line will also be raising the flag at 10 am as they cruise around the world.
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.
“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.”