SCORES of people gathered outside Thurrock Council’s Civic Offices to stand united with the 52 partner countries for the fly a flag ceremony commemorating the annual Commonwealth Day.
The Rev Canon Darren Barlow opened the event, in Grays, on the morning of Monday, 14 March.
Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Sue Gray read a message from his Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth.
She explained this year’s theme of “an inclusive commonwealth” by saying: “This celebrates the core belief and diversity of a Commonwealth with more than two billion people. Every one of them has something unique to offer.”
The theme this year is an emphasis on the core values of the Commonwealth Charter which “asserts that everyone is equal and deserves to be treated without discrimination, whether they are rich or poor, without regard to their race, age, gender, belief or other identity,” Said Cllr Gray.
Before raising the flag, Jackie Doyle-Price, MP for Thurrock read an affirmation saying:
“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.”
After the short service, the mayor invited participants and onlookers to join her for a warming cup of tea.