CIVIC leaders from across Gwent attended a special ceremony in Pontypool on Monday, as part of preparations for a flag raising tribute to mark Commonwealth Day in March.

The mayors of Caerphilly, Newport and Torfaen, as well as the deputy mayor of Blaenau Gwent and the chairman of Monmouthshire, were presented with a Commonwealth flag by the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent, Simon Boyle, at an event in the Civic Centre.

It precedes a Fly the Flag event to be held on March 10 when Torfaen council will raise the Commonwealth flag for the first time.

The ceremony will take place at the Civic Centre at 9.45am and last approximately 20 minutes.

The mayor, Councillor Neil Mason will be present with members and officers of the Council, while the mayor’s chaplain, Canon Brian Pippen, will officiate

When the flag is raised a message will be read aloud from the Queen, along with the Commonwealth Affirmation.

More than 500 flags will be raised throughout the United Kingdom.

Mr Boyle said he “warmly welcomed the willing participation of all five Gwent authorities in this very special initiative”.

“It reminds us all what a wonderful worldwide network of countries the Commonwealth is, and of which HM The Queen is the head,” he added.