SERVICES of celebration were held across Monmouthshire on Monday to observe Commonwealth Day, with this year’s event marking 70 years since the band of nations was formed in London.

At St Mary’s Church in Magor, Year 6 children from Magor CIW Primary School and Undy Primary School attended a special service led by the reverend canon Jeremy Harris. The blue-and-yellow commonwealth flag was displayed proudly above the church.

Canon Harris spoke to the congregation about the importance of values over material goods, using an allegory of a treasure chest.

“Imagine you found the treasure chest – what do you think would be inside?” he asked the pupils, who suggested money, gold, silver and jewels.

But the canon instead opened a box and handed out cards marked with values – such as compassion, love, wisdom, peace, trust, and forgiveness.

“These help us grow in knowledge and also to be more responsible citizens,” he said. “These values are the things we really treasure. They help us build better communities, better schools, a better country and a better commonwealth.”

The theme of this year’s Commonwealth Day is ‘a connected Commonwealth’, and members of the congregation read out inspiring passages from the teachings of the Commonwealth’s major religions, before Magor with Undy Community Council chair, Cllr Donna James, read the Commonwealth Affirmation, a statement of togetherness and understanding between its member states.

Monmouthshire County Council held a ceremony at County Hall in Usk. The flag was raised by chairman Cllr Peter Clarke, with representatives of local town councils and organisations in attendance.

Councillor Paul Jordan, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for governance read the Commonwealth affirmation while the reverend Malcolm Lane led prayers.

Also in attendance was Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay, who said afterwards: "I was pleased to take part in this important event, with more than 1,000 Commonwealth flags being raised around the world at 10am – a shared celebration of this amazing family of nations encompassing the globe.”