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Medway will be part of history in the making today when the Mayor of Medway raises a Commonwealth flag over Gun Wharf.

Mayor Josie Iles is set to fly the flag along with 500 other local authorities, community groups and charities throughout the British Isles to mark Commonwealth Day.

Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth is the first event of its kind and has caught the imagination of thousands of participants, enabling communities to join others nationwide in linking themselves with widespread public expression of commitment to the Commonwealth.

A specially written Commonwealth affirmation will be read out at each ceremony before the raising of the Commonwealth flag at 10am.

In Medway, the council’s Chief Executive Neil Davies will read the affirmation followed by Leader Rodney Chambers who will read a message from the Queen.

Mayor of Medway Josie Iles will then raise the flag over the council building. A second Commonwealth flag will be raised at Rochester Castle.

Charity teams will mark the day by taking Commonwealth flags to the top of the UK’s four highest national peaks and use the occasion to raise funds for their worthy causes: Cancer Research UK – Scafell Pike, England; Help for Heroes – Ben Nevis, Scotland; Walking with the Wounded – Mount Snowdon, Wales; and Fields of Life – Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland.

Mayor of Medway Josie Iles said: “I feel privileged to be raising the Commonwealth flag at the ceremony on Monday along with hundreds of others around the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. This mass flag-raising event is a wonderful way to mark Commonwealth Day.”

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commonwealthFor the first time ever, local authorities and civic dignitaries, community groups and charities throughout the British Isles are taking part in local flag raising events and ceremonies of dedication to mark Commonwealth Day.

This new, unique initiative, which has caught the imagination of thousands of participants, enables people in their local communities to become involved and join with others nationwide in associating 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.

A specially written Commonwealth Affirmation will be read out at each ceremony before the raising of the Commonwealth flag at 10am on Monday 10th March 2014, led by either the Lord Lieutenant, Member of Parliament, Lord Mayor, Lord Provost, Mayor, Leader, Chairman, or nominated representative of each participating local authority or administration.

Charity teams will mark the day by taking Commonwealth Flags to the top of the UK’s four highest National Peaks and use the occasion to raise funds for their worthy causes: Cancer Research UK – Scafell Pike, England; Help for Heroes – Ben Nevis, Scotland; Walking with the Wounded – Mount Snowdon, Wales; and Fields of Life – Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland.

Commonwealth Flags will also be flown at many locations of special significance including the four capital cities of the United Kingdom, Land’s End in Cornwall, the most westerly point in England; St. David’s in Pembrokeshire: the westernmost city in Wales; Carlisle in Cumbria: the northernmost city in England; Lowestoft in Suffolk: the easternmost town in England; and Unst in the Shetland Islands, the most northerly inhabited island in Scotland. Flags will also be raised at the Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula, and at the Halley VI Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf, as well as King Edward Point and Bird Island in South Georgia.

“This will be the largest, single, raising of the Commonwealth Flag in the history of the Commonwealth”, said Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, Pageantmaster and originator of Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth. “The success of this year’s event bodes well for 2015 and the future”, said Peek, “as we extend the invitation to participate and involve all 53 countries of the Commonwealth and UK overseas territories, to make this the largest-ever annual occasion involving local communities throughout the worldwide Commonwealth family”.

I am also delighted that the Virdee Foundation, a well respected, world-wide charitable Foundation has accepted my invitation to join this project for the lifetime of the event, especially as I have always been convinced that this annual occasion will grow in size and stature over the next few years, providing a unique fund-raising opportunity for Commonwealth causes such as those outlined within the Virdee Foundations Memorandum and Articles of Association – the protection of women and children from abuse and the relief of abused women and children, a worthy cause close to my heart too.”

“The Virdee Foundation is delighted to be a part of this initiative, working closely alongside Bruno, to enable us through the ‘good will’ of those taking part, to assist us in donating charitable funds raised by those taking part, to the important cause outlined above, said Peter Virdee, Chairman of the Virdee Foundation.”

His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth said: “Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth is a most imaginative way for people in local communities – wherever they live, learn or work – to join together with others throughout the Commonwealth in a spirit of respect and understanding to celebrate the variety and unmatched diversity of our global family. I welcome and commend it.” “All our citizens, particularly the young, can express appreciation for the Commonwealth and the values for which it stands as set out in the Commonwealth Charter, and the rich opportunities it offers for mutual support towards more inclusive social and more equitable economic progress.”

Esri UK Interactive Map: “We are exceptionally proud to support the ‘Fly a Flag’ for Commonwealth initiative and, to help raise awareness of the day, we have built an interactive map <a href="http://www.esriuk.com/flyaflagmap&quot;
target=”_blank”>www.esriuk.com/flyaflagmap that shows where the individual flag raising events are taking place, throughout the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man,” explained Dr Richard Waite, Managing Director of Esri UK. We strongly encourage all local authorities and others taking part to post the map on their website, so local citizens and the media can easily find details of their local event and become involved in what will be a most special day.”

It’s party time on the prom again. Saturday 20 July from 1.30pm the music starts and goes on until 8pm. This year the huge free concert’s theme is Rocking All Over The World. More

There will be a special flag-raising ceremony and service to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation on Sunday 2 June at 12.30pm on Gravesend’s Community Square.

The Mayor of Gravesham Cllr Derek Sales will lead the celebration and the service will be conducted by his chaplain Rev Canon Chris Stone, Rector of Gravesend. More

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012. Today’s announcement from the Cabinet Office has given the charity the opportunity to thank all its volunteers for all their hard work and dedication to help save lives at sea.

The charity, which relies on volunteers to carry out its lifesaving work and who form 95% of its workforce, is one of just 60 organisations to receive this one-off award. The category that was added to the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in order to mark the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic year.

In a nomination submitted by long-term RNLI supporters, actor Timothy Spall and his wife Shane, the charity’s volunteers were described as ‘what is ‘Great’ about Britain.’ The Spalls went on to say: ‘They are an inspiration, and have our eternal gratitude and respect.’

Volunteers have been at the heart of the RNLI since its inception in 1824; its 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members are on call 24/7, launching whatever the weather and often in the hours of darkness to help those in danger around the UK and the Republic of Ireland. In addition, volunteer lifeguards work alongside paid lifeguards to help keep beach-users safe and educate those who visit the coast. Specially-trained Flood Rescue Teams are also ready to deploy to any instances of inland flooding. None of this would be possible without thousands more dedicated volunteers who give their time to raise funds and awareness, give safety advice and help out in museums, shops and offices across the country

Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to receive this prestigious award, and for our selfless volunteers to be recognised for their commitment and dedication in this Diamond Jubilee year.

‘Our volunteers come from all walks of life and are united by one common goal; an unfaltering commitment to help save lives at sea. From the volunteer crews and lifeguards who are at the forefront of rescues to the people who give up their time to raise vital funds. I am not only proud to be part of the charity but inspired by so many ordinary people doing extraordinary things’.

Martyn Lewis CBE, Chairman, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award Committee, said:

“The sixty organisations honoured today with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for Volunteering have built their success on the dedication and generosity of thousands of extraordinary people, each of whom has devoted their time and energy to the simple aim of making their communities – and their country – a better place.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said:

“The list of recipients of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for Volunteering reads like a Who’s Who of British volunteering and is testament to the enduring strength and immeasurable contribution of volunteers over the past sixty years.”

“2012 brought volunteering firmly, and deservedly, into the spotlight. The stories behind these awards show what people can achieve when they come together and I hope they will inspire more people to come forward to contribute, and to gain from, all that volunteering offers.”

RNLI lifeboat crew member Gavin Steeden and volunteer lifeguard Chris Lewis will be representing the charity at a small presentation being held by the Cabinet Office at Whitehall this evening (12 December).

Gavin said: ‘I have grown up with the RNLI and volunteer alongside my dad, brother and friends – it is part of who I am and what I love. It is a great honour to be recognised for what we do, and I am really proud to be representing not only my own station in Swanage but all the volunteers who are part of the charity.’ More

A visitor centre to celebrate the life of the United Kingdom’s last estuary paddle steamer and her imminent return to the River Medway was officially opened by the Mayor of Medway Cllr Ted Baker in mid December. More

Enjoy a night of classic hits with a band that’s guaranteed to rock you.

Queen come to life again in Medway this month with one of the world’s top tribute bands playing the songs that topped the charts.

Killer Queen have been performing their tribute to Queen for more than 15 years and thrilling audiences worldwide with their high energy, powerful performance. Now Medway audiences have an opportunity to find out just why they are rated so highly. More

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