Councillor Stuart Hughes (left), the Chairman of East Devon District Council and Chief Executive Mark Williams were joined by children from Sidmouth Primary School for a joint Fly-a-Flag for the Commonwealth and Toilet Twinning event

Sidmouth schoolchildren join East Devon’s chairman at council offices for flag raising ceremony

The Chairman of East Devon District Council, Councillor Stuart Hughes was joined at Knowle in Sidmouth on Monday 14 March 2016 by 14 enthusiastic pupils from Sidmouth Primary School who came to watch the raising of the Commonwealth Flag in celebration of a partnership between Toilet Twinning and Fly-aFlag for the Commonwealth.

This joint initiative invites schools to help flush away poverty through toilet twinning - for a donation schools can choose to twin their own toilet with one in a Commonwealth country. The donations are used to provide a decent loo, clean water and hygiene education in the Commonwealth nations of Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

 Before the Commonwealth flag was raised by East Devon Chief Executive Mark Williams and Councillor Stuart Hughes, the Chairman read out a message from Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, who said that flying a flag for the Commonwealth was:

...a most imaginative way for people in local communities and all walks of life to join in celebration with others throughout our worldwide Commonwealth family.

Commenting on the Commonwealth celebration and toilet twinning, Councillor Hughes said:

Every day many children die because of diseases linked to dirty water and poor sanitation. Toilet Twinning is a quirky but practical way to do something about a serious issue and I am delighted that this is being done in partnership with Fly-a-Flag for the Commonwealth. Flying the Commonwealth flag is a great way of spreading the message about the many democratic and developmental advances that have been made in our Commonwealth nations and demonstrates our public appreciation of the values embodied within the Commonwealth.

During the ceremony, a Commonwealth poem was read by two of the pupils – Will Pulman and James Bickley.

All the Sidmouth schoolchildren were accompanied to Knowle by their school’s deputy headmistress, Sarah Prince, who said:

We asked for the toilets to be twinned with Kenya as the children have been doing some school work on global citizenship. The children are interested to learn about their world and we already have a very good link with a school in India.

The children from Sidmouth Primary School were presented by Councillor Hughes with a framed toilet certificate, which confirms that the school has been twinned with a school toilet block in Mwanganga, Kenya and includes the GPS co-ordinates so pupils can look up their twinned toilet block.

After the ceremony, the children joined the Chairman and Chief Executive for drinks and biscuits.