A ceremony has been held in Wellingborough to mark the first celebration of Commonwealth Day.
Mayor of Wellingborough Graham Lawman read out a message from the Queen, followed by a specially-written Commonwealth Affirmation, before the Commonwealth flag was raised this morning.
The event took place in front of Wellingborough Council’s Swanspool House and was one of 500 similar events taking place across the British Isles.
Local authorities and community groups were invited to hold ceremonies, and charities were taking flags to the four highest national peaks in the UK.
Flags were also due to be flown on the Antarctic Peninsula, at the Halley VI Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf, and at King Edward Point and Bird Island in South Georgia.
Cllr Lawman said: “This is an expression of our support for the Charter of the Commonwealth which promotes diversity, tolerance, understanding, freedom of expression, democracy and human rights and kinship across the world.
“This is a joyous celebration of our shared values and the continuing success and ties we should cherish with two billion Commonwealth citizens across the globe.
“It is an opportunity for us all to consider how we can contribute to these values.”
The new event was described by organisers as a way for communities to ‘associate themselves with widespread public expression of commitment to the Commonwealth, appreciation of the values it stands for, and the opportunities offered to its citizens around the world’.
The Commonwealth is made up of 53 sovereign states who come together voluntarily and work together to support democracy, development and respect for diversity.