Raising of the Commonwealth Flag Ceremony, Town Hall, Stockton
Today, Stockton Borough Council joined hundreds of local authorities across the UK in a short ceremony to celebrate Commonwealth Day. Also today, for the first time in Maritime history, the 11 ships of P&O and Cunard Line will also raised the Commonwealth flag at various locations as they cruise around the world at 10.00 hrs. (I'm sure they were in much warmer climates than we were in Stockton High Street!)
The ceremony started with Standard Bearers, under the Direction of Roger Bannister moved to their spots facing the dais and Town Hall. I welcomed people who had gathered for the Ceremony before handing over to Her Majesty's Deputy Lieutenant of Durham, Colonel Graham Mitchell, who had a message from the Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, and a message from the Secretary General of the Commonwealth. He then read out the Commonwealth Affirmation. I then responded to the affirmation and this was followed by a fanfare from the Police Band as the flag was raised.
Councillors and Officers of the Council, members of the public and a group of youngsters from Oxbridge Primary school attended. These children were School Council members, they were very well behaved and interested and were given a short tour around the Town Hall and some of its history.
Stockton Division Guides AGM, Thornton Hall, Norton
Attended this event tonight where after the usual business of an AGM there was a talk by Caroline Found from Saltholme nature reserve. This, as a long time member of the RSPB, I found very interesting. She showed a number of slides of various birds that can be seen at different times during the year, natural and man-made wet areas, hides, the adventure playground, garden and the spectacular Visitors Centre (I can certainly vouch for the food from the cafe and the great views while eating there).
I think I have one more "Guide event" while I am Mayor and can honestly say I never cease to be amazed by the number of people of all ages who give of their time to work tirelessly with youngsters in our Borough to give them the opportunity to enjoy many varied experiences.