The Duchess of Northumberland has unveiled a Commonwealth flag that will fly at venues around the country as part of inaugural celebrations next month.
The day will see 500 such flags hoisted across the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man at 10am on Commonwealth Day, March 10.
Exactly a month before, the duchess – in her role as Lord Lieutenant for Northumberland – handed over the flag to Northumberland County Council’s civic chairman Kath Nibett, at 10am yesterday.
Lord lieutenants across the country performed similar ceremonial handovers at the same time, including events in County Durham. The Commonwealth flag will be flown at the castle and also at the county council’s County Hall in Morpeth as part of the celebrations.
The day will see local authorities and civic dignitaries, community groups and charities throughout the British Isles taking part in flag raising events and ceremonies of dedication to mark Commonwealth Day for the first time.
The celebration aims to allow people to join in a show of commitment to the Commonwealth, appreciation of the values it stands for, and the opportunities offered to its citizens around the world.
A specially written Commonwealth affirmation will be read out at each ceremony before the raising of the flag, led by either the Lord Lieutenant or a nominated representative of the participating local authority or administration.
The duchess said yesterday: “I am happy to be supporting Commonwealth Day which is not only about promoting understanding of the Commonwealth, its history and its role in society today but it is also about encouraging our communities to think about the way that the Commonwealth works; tackling and resolving issues that affect everyone together and making this happen more often at local level.”
Charity teams will mark the day by taking Commonwealth flags to the top of the UK’s four highest national peaks and use the occasion to raise funds.
Those taking part are Cancer Research UK, Help for Heroes, Walking with the Wounded and Fields of Life. Commonwealth flags will also be flown at locations of special significance including the four capital cities of the United Kingdom, Land’s End and Carlisle.
Flags will also be 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.