OVER 40 people braved Monday’s chill for the raising of the Commonwealth flag outside the Civic Offices in New Road, Grays.
The second such Commonwealth Day event saw Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Steve Liddiard, read a message from the Queen and from His Excellency Karmalesh Sarma – Secretary General of the Commonwealth.
In addition, prayers were led by the Rev Darren Barlow and Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price read an affirmation before raising the Commonwealth flag itself.
Among those present were council officers from the chief executive downwards, local politicians and representatives of local organisations.
The message from the Queen, read by the mayor, was as follows:
“I am pleased to learn that so many people throughout the Commonwealth will be taking part in the ‘Fly a Lag for the Commonwealth’ initiative on Commonwealth day this year, which I understand will see the raising of a record number of Commonwealth flags.
“I send my good wishes to all who are taking part.”
The message from the secretary general was:
“The success and enthusiasm with which Fly the Flag for the Commonwealth was embraced in 2014, its inaugural year, is evident of its appeal as a most imaginative way for people in local communities and from all walks of life, particularly the young, to join in celebration with others throughout the Commonwealth.
“The awareness brought by local and national flag raising ceremonies, and the associated activities, bring greater understanding and appreciation of the values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter to which the Governments of all 53 Commonwealth countries are committed, and to which each of us as individual Commonwealth citizens can recommit ourselves on Commonwealth Day.
“Immense progress continues to be made in the Commonwealth through the goodwill, trust, and mutual respect that connect us as members of one worldwide family, united in our rich diversity. This spirit of growth and innovation is celebrated in the Commonwealth Day theme for 2015 honouring the future generation: A young Commonwealth.
“Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth provides an opportunity to acknowledge publicly and collectively the continuing success of the Commonwealth in building on common traditions and upholding shared values of democracy, inclusive development, rule of law, and human rights, in order to advance opportunities for the development and growth of all, especially our youth.
“Reflection on the many ways in which the Commonwealth is a global good can be combined with celebration as we put out the flags for Commonwealth Day with pride in our shared inheritance, and dedicate ourselves afresh to progress and prosperity, with fairness, justice and opportunity for all.
Affirmation read by Jackie Doyle-Price
“Joining together as members of one worldwide Commonwealth
“Community, and valuing the personal dignity and worth of every citizen, we raise this flag as a symbol of the ties of kinship and affinity that we cherish. We draw inspiration from our diversity, and the opportunities for working together, as a rich source of wisdom and a powerful influence for good in the world. We affirm our commitment to upholding the values set out in the Commonwealth Charter, to serving one another in a spirit of respect and understanding, and to advancing development, democracy and co-operation locally, nationally, and internationally.”