Three days of celebrations took place from 25 to 28 March 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Bangladesh Association in Swindon and to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh.
The highlight was the raising of the Bangladeshi flag over Swindon Borough Council’s Civic Offices– the first time such an honour has ever been granted to any country outside of the UK.
Founded in 1992 by a small group of Bangladeshi people living in the town, the Association in Swindon currently has more than 2000 members. Run by a team of volunteers, the organisation’s aim is to bring together and support Bangladeshi people from the area with social, fund-raising and educational activities, most of which take place at the Association’s Bangladesh Youth & Community Centre in Gorse Hill.
Celebrations began at the Centre on Sunday 25 March with official speeches, an exhibition and cultural display. HM the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, were principal guests with representation from the Mayors of Swindon, Royal Wootton Bassett, Cirencester, Marlborough, other local dignitaries, and from around 80 organisations across the UK.
Visitors were able to find out more about the Association and its work, along with the history and architecture of Bangladesh. After lunch, some of the younger members of the Association put on a performance of singing, dancing and poetry. An official souvenir guide is being produced for the occasion which will include messages from The Queen, and the Prime Ministers of both the UK and Bangladesh.
The flag raising ceremony took place with the Mayor of Swindon, Councillor Ray Ballman, and the Bangladesh Association President, Fozur Rahman Akik, at the Civic Offices. Afterwards, the Mayor hosted a reception for people from the Swindon Bangladeshi community at the Civic Offices in Euclid Street.
“Being the first country to be granted permission to fly our national flag at the Civic Offices is a tremendous honour for the people of Bangladesh,” said Mr Enam Chowdhury, secretary general of the Bangladesh Association in Swindon and one of the event organisers. “We are extremely grateful to the Mayor of Swindon’s office, the leader of Swindon Borough Council Roderick Bluh, and the Swindon community as a whole for helping to make this momentous occasion possible.”
The celebrations finished on Wednesday 28 March with an amateur badminton competition, a popular Bangladeshi sport, at the Oasis leisure centre.
For more information contact Mr Enam Chowdhury on 07971 392430.