The Great Hall was the setting for the event, where HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, read the Commonwealth Affirmation before the Commonwealth flag was raised outside in the courtyard, by the County Council Chairman, Councillor Keith Chapman, together with the Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Jane Rutter.
Throughout the ceremony, the County Council’s staff choir, the Castle Singers, sang Jerusalem and a variety of other songs to mark the occasion.
Commenting following the ceremony, Councillor Chapman said: “This event in Hampshire has been a positive and uplifting opportunity for us to reaffirm our commitment to the Commonwealth, and show appreciation for the values the Commonwealth upholds, as well as the opportunities offered for friendship and cooperation with fellow Commonwealth citizens, young and old, around the world.”
The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, said: “At a time of increasing instability and uncertainty in the world, the Commonwealth family of nations in its rich diversity becomes an ever more-needed source of strength and hope for all its members. ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’ is a natural follow-on from our previous theme of ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, and reaffirms the Commonwealth Charter principle that international peace and security, sustainable economic growth and development and the rule of law are essential to the progress and prosperity of all.”
Local authorities and civic dignitaries, community groups, and charities throughout the British Isles carried out local flag raising events and ceremonies of dedication to mark Commonwealth Day. More than 950 Commonwealth Flags were raised in locations throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK Overseas Territories, and Commonwealth countries.