Norfolk flies the flag for the Commonwealth
12 March 2018
Today the Chairman of Norfolk County Council John Ward held the annual Commonwealth Flag raising ceremony at County Hall in Norwich which was attended by a small but growing gathering of Group Members, Officers and department representatives including staff with Commonwealth connections.
Col Jamie Athill DL read The Commonwealth Affirmation and the Chairman read a letter from The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations.
As the Chairman’s theme for his civic year has been youth development and volunteering he said “it was heartening to know that thousands of young people around the world will be committing themselves to the values of the Commonwealth Charter and the 2018 Commonwealth theme: ‘Towards a Common Future’.”
This year’s theme explores how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness, in line with the theme of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.
After the Fly the Flag ceremony guests joined the Chairman in County Hall for the Single Commemorative Act to recognise the Commonwealth’s part during the First World War. During the ceremony there was a reading read by the Chairman of the Royal British Legion Norfolk John Boisson as well as a reading of the Queen’s message to the Commonwealth by the Chairman John Ward.
It is worth remembering that a century ago three million men and women volunteered from all corners of the world to fight for a King and country many had never seen. They gave up their jobs, their families and often their lives to face hardship and unspeakable horrors – from the mud of the Western Front, to the swamps and deserts of Mesopotamia and East Africa.
175 people from the Commonwealth were awarded Britain’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross. Around the world, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorates the names of over 1.1 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who lost their lives in the Great War.
John Ward, went on: “Britain and her allies could not have prevailed without these brave men and women. We owe our friends in the Commonwealth an enormous debt of gratitude. They fought together, they fell together, and together they defended the freedoms we enjoy today. That is why the Single Commemorative Act is important.”
The ceremony consisted of four candles to represent the years of the First World War, then the extinguishing and relighting of these candles to represent the darkness that fell across Europe from 1914 -1918 and a moment of silent reflection and prayer by NCC Chaplain Revd Dr Liviu Barbu, this year all four of the candles being relit to represent coming to the end of the First World War and the light returning to Europe.
This was then followed by a celebration of the Commonwealth including a video presentation and displays.