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Mayor of Colchester invites youngsters to attend Commonwealth Centenary celebration in Chelmsford Cathedral

Date issued: 7 February 2018

Colchester Mayor, Cllr Gerard Oxford, is inviting five young people from the Borough to join him at a special celebration marking the 100th Anniversary of the Commonwealth, to be held in Chelmsford Cathedral on 29 April.

The Centenary Service, hosted by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Mrs Philip Tolhurst, will include a procession of children drawn from across the county, each representing the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth.

Youngsters living in the Borough are invited to submit their nominations to attend the Service by writing to, ahead of the Friday 23rd February deadline.

Five nominees with Commonwealth connections will be selected by the Mayor in a blind draw to be held in the Mayor's Parlour, on Wednesday 28th February.

Of these, one will be randomly selected to represent a member country from one of the Commonwealth's five geographical areas -- Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Americas, Europe and the Pacific -- to take part in the entrance procession along with their parents or carers.

Guests will be encouraged to wear national costume or a symbol of the country they represent, while those taking part in the procession will also carry a banner saying which one of the five geographical areas they represent.

The multi-cultural, multi-faith celebration will contain a mix of singing, dance, reflection and thanksgiving, after which tea and cakes will be served.

The Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Gerard Oxford, said: "I am delighted to have been asked by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event and to be able to invite five younger residents from the Borough to join me in celebrating the Commonwealth's 100th Anniversary.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in a shared celebration of the amazing family of nations and a chance to show appreciation for the values and opportunities the Commonwealth upholds."

The Centenary Service coincides with the bi-annual meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of State, which was to have been held in Vanuatu. Following the devastation wrought on the pacific island by tropical typhoon Donna, last May, it will now take place in London and will be the last one to be attended by HM The Queen.

Nominations for local youngster over the age of eight are welcome. Successful nominees and their parents or carers will be asked to bear the costs of any expenses incurred in travelling to the Service.