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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Flying the flag for the Commonwealth

COPELAND communities helped to make history on Monday as they celebrated Commonwealth Day.

By Sarah Robinson

A flag-raising ceremony was held at St Nicholas’ Gardens in Whitehaven with the mayor and mayoress of Copeland Geoff and Sandra Garrity who were joined by councillors.

Children from Waberthwaite C of E School joined staff at the La’al Ratty in Ravenglass to raise a flag there.

The events were two of 500 happening across the British Isles to mark Commonwealth day. It is the first time that local authorities and civic dignitaries, community groups and charities have taken part in flag raising events and ceremonies of dedication.

At Whitehaven’s event, Coun Garrity read out the Commonwealth affirmation, saying: “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.”

Following the ceremony he said Copeland Council was proud to be part of this national event. The flag will remain raised until after the Commonwealth Games are held in Glasgow this summer.

The La’al Ratty was specially selected as a location to fly the flag. It was raised by Year 2 pupil Elliot Wagstaff who won a recent school competition.

Headteacher Penny Khan said pupils from Year 2 up to Year 6 were tasked with redesigning a flag from the Commonwealth countries that produces cocoa beans, which Elliot won. The runners up also attended the event.

Mrs Khan said: “It’s good to be part of community events. Also it gives us a good reason to investigate the Commonwealth and teach the children about what it is.

“The values of the Commonwealth are friendship, unity and human rights, these are good values to reflect on in school.”

Commonwealth Day is an opportunity to promote international co-operation and the work of the Commonwealth’s organisations aiming to improve the lives of its citizens.

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