CIVIC dignitaries and residents marked Commonwealth Day with a number of flag raising ceremonies across Dorset and Hampshire yesterday.

The Commonwealth flag was raised outside Bournemouth Town Hall at 10am, in conjunction with 500 flags across the country.

Bournemouth mayor Cllr Rodney Cooper said: “We are thrilled to be part of such a unique event which will show Bournemouth’s commitment to the Commonwealth.”

Meanwhile, in Poole, the flag flew over the Civic Centre. Poole Mayor Cllr Phil Eades said: “Poole was proud to play its part in this historic event to recognise the contribution of the Commonwealth.”

Purbeck District Council chairman Bill Trite, council leader Gary Suttle and chief executive Steve MacKenzie spoke at their ceremony, when the flag was raised at the authority’s Wareham headquarters.

Reading a message on behalf of the Queen, Mr Mackenzie said: “I am pleased to learn that so many people will be taking part in the Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth initiative, which will see a record number of Commonwealth flags being raised on one day.”

New Forest District Council flew the flag at Lymington Town Hall. Council leader Cllr Barry Rickman said the council was “proud to be joining in the largest single raising of the Commonwealth flag in Commonwealth history.”

Christchurch Borough Council deputy mayor Cllr Denise Jones and her escort Cllr David Jones also attended a flag raising ceremony, and the event was marked at East Dorset District Council.