Commonwealth Day celebrated with flag-raising ceremony

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(Last Updated On: March 10, 2020)

Students from Newton Abbot Academy joined the Chairman of Teignbridge District Council, Cllr Richard Keeling (centre), and a number of civic dignitaries for a flag-raising ceremony this morning (Monday 9 March) to celebrate Commonwealth Day.

Pictured with the flag are the 10 students with representatives from the following local councils: Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Bishopsteignton, Hennock, Ipplepen, Kingskerswell, Newton Abbot, Teignbridge and Teignmouth.

After the photos were taken in the grounds of Old Forde House, the flag was taken across to Teignbridge Council’s main building, Forde House, where it was soon fluttering in the breeze.

History of Commonwealth day:

Before Commonwealth Day, we had Empire Day.

Empire day was a celebration of what we used to call the British Empire- a group of countries that the United Kingdom ruled over until 1997.

British Commonwealth Day falls on the second Monday in March, in commemoration of those who gave assistance to Britain by the colonies during the Boer War (1899-1902).

In 1947 India wanted to become a republic meaning they would not owe allegiance to the British King or Queen, but they also wanted to stay a member of the Commonwealth, during a meeting in London 1949, The London Declaration announced that republics and other countries could be part of the Commonwealth. Thus creating the modern Commonwealth of Nations.

King George VI was the first Head of the Commonwealth, and Queen Elizabeth II became Head when he died. Although this does not mean that a British King or Queen is automatically Head of the Commonwealth, members of the Commonwealth choose who becomes Head of the Commonwealth.

Since 1949 independent countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific have joined the Commonwealth. The latest 2 countries to join the Commonwealth – Rwanda and Mozambique – have no historical ties to the British Empire.

Currently, The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth and will make a speech to the rest of the world, 16 members of the Commonwealth recognises the Queen as their monarch.

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