Portsmouth marks Commonwealth Day with flags raised in Guildhall Square
Councillors and Royal Navy officials gathered in Guildhall Square to celebrate Commonwealth Day with flags from around globe raised outside the council’s offices.
The ceremony saw the Dean of Portsmouth, Dr Anthony Crane, deliver a short sermon to celebrate the display of 12 national flags from across the Commonwealth.
The Lord Mayor David Fuller was joined by Royal Navy sailor Joseph Kylron in raising the flag for the Commonwealth of Nations, which stands alongside flags from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, and more.
The event was attended serving members of the Royal Navy, including the commander of the Portsmouth Naval Base, Commodore Jeremy Bailey.
The flag raising was a ‘special event’ for people across the city, honouring its commitment to international cooperation, according to Councillor Rob Wood.
Cllr Wood, of St Thomas ward, said: ‘I was born in Hong Kong. My Dad is a Yorkshireman and my Mum is Chinese.
‘So this is a special event for me, because it recognises the diversity in the world and the special relationship we have with the rest of the world here in Portsmouth.
‘We should embrace we are a multi-cultural society and we need to look at our friends across the world.
‘We need to work together more than ever.’
Commonwealth Day is an annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations, made up of 53 countries that were previously a part of the British Empire, as well as Britain itself and its overseas territories. The nations are home to more than 2bn people.
A total of eight per cent of Portsmouth’s population are foreign nationals, with more than 3,500 residents coming from Bangladesh.
Faz Ahmed, a co-ordinator with the Portsmouth Bangladesh Business Association (PBBA), said the city did a ‘fantastic’ job of making people feel welcome.
He said: ‘The city is very welcoming,
‘The University of Portsmouth helped instigate a trade mission to Bangladesh last year, and the university does a fantastic work to make students feel at home.
In November, the PBBA worked with organisations across the city, including the council and university, for Portsmouth to become a sister city of Sylhet, in Bangladesh.