A FLAG has been flown above Andover's Guildhall during a special ceremony to mark Commonwealth Day.

On Monday, March 11 the Mayor of Test Valley read out the Commonwealth Affirmation outside the hall.

Speaking to the Advertiser at the event, mayor Cllr Philip Lashbrook said: "This is the Commonwealth Affirmation which is the bond of kinship that all the Commonwealth partners undertake this time every year and it reinforces what the Commonwealth is all about.

"It is a partnership of nations and peoples coming together to serve a common cause and I am delighted that I had the opportunity today to read out the affirmation."

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Andover Advertiser: The Mayor of the Test Valley Cllr Philip Lashbrookat the Commonwealth Affirmation

He continued: "I think it helps the community appreciate and understand the importance of these sort of traditions and also it emphases the importance of the Commonwealth. A lot of people hear the term Commonwealth but don't necessarily appreciate what it means.

"It is that bond between nations which is so important nowadays when you look at the world and all the conflicts going on. We need to have this bond of friendship which is why it is so important we celebrate days like today."

He said it has been an immense privilege and a tremendous honour to complete the ceremony.

"I was born in the Commonwealth and so it means that little bit extra to me," he added.

Held on the second Monday of every March, Commonwealth Day is designed to celebrate the shared values that unite people.

Andover Advertiser: The Mayor of the Test Valley Cllr Philip Lashbrookat

The ceremony was attended by the leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Cllr Phil North as well as Cllr Iris Andersen.

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During the affirmation, the mayor said the flag has been raised as a symbol of the ties of kinship and affinity.

He said: "We affirm our commitment to upholding the values set out in the Commonwealth Charter, to serving one another in a spirit of respect and understanding, and to advancing development, democracy and cooperation, locally, nationally, and internationally."

A flag has been flown across the UK in more than 40 Commonwealth nations around the world as part of the annual event.