Dozens of Hartlepool schoolchildren marked Commonwealth Day in fine musical style.
Pupils from 11 of the town’s primary schools joined civic leaders including the Mayor of Hartlepool Coun Rob Cook and council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belchers for a flag-raising ceremony on the steps of the civic centre in Victoria Road.
Held each year on the second Monday in March, Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations, the international organisation mainly made up for former territories of the British Empire.
This year saw the Queen’s Baton Relay set off from Buckingham Palace yesterday for Australia’s Gold Coast. The baton will take more than a year to reach its destination, arriving in time for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
The ceremony saw Coun Akers-Belcher read out a personal message from the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, while the Mayor read out the Commonwealth Affirmation before the flag was raised on the new flagpole outside the Civic Centre.
Children sang hymns and the National Anthem during the ceremony and were presented with miniature Commonwealth flags.
More than 950 Commonwealth Flags were raised throughout the UK and its fellow Commonwealth countries.
Coun Cook said it was ‘fantastic’ to see so many of the town’s youngsters taking part in the ceremony.
“As a member-country of the Commonwealth, it is right and proper that we join with others around the world in flying the flag for the Commonwealth,” he said.
Coun Akers-Belcher added: “The ceremony presents an opportunity for the town to show its commitment to the Commonwealth and show appreciation for the values it upholds.”