This is the theme of this year (2021) -‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’. A theme that underpins the great work that the Commonwealth undertakes each and every year.
I was reminded of the impact of the Comonwealth -during the enormous television coverage of the The Queen celebrating Commonwealth Day in Westminster Abbey yesterday (7 March 2021). Where the work of the Commonwealth was celebrated by all its member States.
Memories flooded back to me of the hard work, but very rewarding experience, I undertook to ensure the City of Wolverhampton, and Wednesfield both played their part in the Commonwealth agenda back in 2006.
I had arranged for the then Secretary General of the Commonwealth Don McKinnon to visit our great and historic City of Wolverhampton. Sir Don as he later became was a former Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Minister for Foreign Affairs. He was Knighted for his work with The Commonwealth.
The date of this important visit by the Commonwealth General Secretary was the 3rd March 2006 . It was a day when I was both nervous yet excited that such an important World figure would be attending our City, and Wednesfield at my invitation. Not only did we meet with the Secretary General in my Mayoral Office at the Civic Centre. I arranged for him to come and visit my Ward of Wednesfield North. The Secretary General was a nice man with a wealth of political experience. We travelled in the car and I chatted with him about Wednesfield and Wolverhampton’s history and achievements.
I took the Secretary General to the Coppice Performing Arts High School, on Ashmore Park. The School were in rehearsals for Les Miserables. We toured the School and the drama Group went through their rehearsals in front of the Civic touring Party. I felt very proud during that visit. Both of the School, and that the performers had a chance to show their talent in front of such an eminent person.
During the visit Mr McKinnon remarked that he had really quite enjoyed the whole day in Wolverhampton. He had spoken relaxed in his manner, with both staff and pupils. He said “it wasn’t that often he would get invited to attend a City , that was not a Capital City. He liked the opportunity of “being in the provinces”.
Quite rightly at the end of my term of Office. I cited the fact that that this was one of my own special highlights of the Mayoral Year – This is what is recorded in the City Minutes -“The Mayor welcomed the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, The Right Honourable Mr. Don McKinnon, to Wolverhampton on 3 March 2006, epitomising the variety, diversity and internationalism of the Civic Diary which bears witness to a vibrant, living City which remembers its history, celebrates its diversity and looks forward to a future of unity and
That sums the City and Commonwealth Day wonderfully! I do hope that we will see the City playing a larger role in years to come.
Note of Interest.