Her Majesty The Queen ‘broke’ the Commonwealth Flag outside the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, on Commonwealth Day, Monday 10 March, 2014.
This was the last of over 500 Commonwealth Flags raised today by local authorities and community groups throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man in celebration of Commonwealth Day. It was the largest, single raising of this flag in the history of the Commonwealth.
Swindon Borough Council participated in this countrywide event. William Fishlock, Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire, represented the Lord Lieutenant at the brief ceremony held at the main steps of the Civic Offices before the flag was raised.
He is pictured, far right, with the Mayor of Swindon councillor Nick Martin, councillor David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council and Gavin Jones, chief executive. Image: Richard Wintle of Calyx
Those taking part read a message of ‘good wishes’ from Her Majesty The Queen, along with the Commonwealth Affirmation.
Shortly after The Queen "broke’ the flag, Her Majesty attended the annual Commonwealth Observance (service) in Westminster Abbey, with The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and The Earl and Countess of Wessex.
Bruno Peek, LVO, OBE OPR, originator and Pageantmaster of ‘Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth said: "I am delighted and honoured that Her Majesty The Queen has agreed to ‘break’ the Commonwealth Flag outside the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, and has sent a message to all those taking part in ‘Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth".
Charity teams marked the day by taking Commonwealth Flags to the top of the UK’s four highest National Peaks, using the occasion to raise funds and profile for their worthy causes: Cancer Research UK – Scafell Pike, England; Help for Heroes – Ben Nevis, Scotland; Walking with the Wounded – Mount Snowdon, Wales; and Fields of Life – Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland.
Commonwealth Flags were flown at many locations of special significance including Land’s End, Cornwall, the most westerly point in England; St. David’s in Pembrokeshire: the westernmost city in Wales; Carlisle in Cumbria: the northernmost city in England; Lowestoft in Suffolk: the easternmost town in England; and Unst in the Shetland Islands, the most northerly inhabited island in Scotland.
They were also raised at the Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula, and at the Halley VI Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf, as well as King Edward Point and Bird Island in South Georgia.
His Excellency 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. I welcome and commend it.”
“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.”
A special Interactive Map was produced by Esri UK, to show the location of each flag etc, for this occasion, to enable local communities and others to attend their flag raising ceremonies.
See where the flag was raised at www.esriuk.com/flyaflagmap