WYCOMBE will take part in a nationwide celebration of Commonwealth Day next week as 500 flags are set to be raised simultaneously across the country.

The event, taking place at 10am on Monday 10 March outside the Wycombe District Council offices in Queen Victoria Road, marks the first time ever that local authorities and civic dignitaries, community groups and charities have joined together in local flag raising events and ceremonies of dedication to mark Commonwealth Day.

A specially written Affirmation of the Commonwealth and a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be read aloud at each ceremony, including Wycombe, before the raising of the Commonwealth flag at 10am.

Cllr Ian McEnnis, Chairman of Wycombe District Council said: "The event is an opportunity for communities to mark Commonwealth Day and celebrate the shared goals of democracy, development and respect for diversity.

"The ‘Fly a flag for the Commonwealth’ initiative event has caught the imagination of thousands of participants across the country. It's a wonderful opportunity for local people to connect with others nationwide in the 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."

"I would like to invite residents from across the district to join me outside the Wycombe District Council offices at Queen Victoria Road for 10am on Monday 10 March so that we can share this moment and celebrate the Commonwealth together."

To raise awareness of the day, an online map has been created showing where the events are taking place. See www.esriuk.com/flyaflagmap

Elsewhere in the UK, 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.

Bruno Peek, Pageantmaster and originator of 'Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth', said: "This will be the largest, single raising of the Commonwealth Flag in the history of the Commonwealth. The success of this year's event bodes well for 2015 and the future 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."

Also attending the ceremony with Cllr McEnnis and members of WDC will be Kenneth Ross, Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, and representatives of RAF High Wycombe.