8 September 2018: RCS Bath and District Branch took to the waters on a cruise along the Kennet and Avon canal to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of The Royal Commonwealth Society. Members, friends and Commonwealth students from the University of Bath joined with the branch patron, the Mayor of Bath, Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones and the Lady Mayoress for a buffet lunch and trip to Dundas Aqueduct. Also present was Stuart Mole OBE, the branch President and one-time director of the RCS, his family and students from Nigeria. Fine weather and autumn sunshine gave everyone a chance to network, get to know more about the work of the RCS and generally enjoy themselves as they made their way through the Somerset countryside.
26 June 2018: RCS Guernsey Branch organised a noon-day gun salute at Castle Cornet to mark the 150th anniversary of The Royal Commonwealth Society. The firing of the gun is a practice dating back to the early 19th century. The event was followed by a Pimms and canapes reception at the Guernsey Yacht Club.
8 June 2018: Members of RCS Jersey Branch were amongst Islanders including the current Bailiff of Jersey, Jersey's Chief Minister and two former Bailiff's who accepted Jersey's Lt. Governor, HE Sir Stephen Dalton's invitation to attend a traditional levée in the grounds of Government House to celebrate HM The Queen's official birthday. Music was provided La Ronde concert Band. The 1781 Jersey Militia provided a 21 gun salute in honour of HM The Queen and a marching display and beating of retreat was given by the Jersey Pipe Band and the Band of the Island of Jersey. During the evening HE Sir Stephen Dalton announced the names of those Islanders who had been recognised in The Queen's Birthday Honours list.
May 2018: Chair of RCS Bath and District Branch, Godfrey Hall, awards Ekundayo Samuel, a Commonwealth student from Nigeria currently studying at Bath University, with the 2018 Dent-Young Award for his translational PhD studies in cancer research and prevention in Nigeria. Ekundayo Samuel, a PhD candidate at the University of Ibadan, is a recipient of a Commonwealth split-site PhD scholarship to the University of Bath. The award will assist him to embark on further cancer awareness raising, training of health screening personnel and ultimately the establishment of a cancer centre that will be dedicated to cancer care and related activities in Nigeria.
It is predicted that by 2020, some 30million people worldwide will be living with cancer. Sub-Saharan Africa has access to less than 5% of global cancer resources, yet 80% of newly diagnosed cases occur in sub-Saharan African countries.
22 April 2018 Members of RCS Bath and District Branch joined with the Britain -Australia Society and others at the Anzac Day service which was held at Sutton Veny, Wiltshire. This annual event remembers the Australian service personnel and New Zealanders who died in the Great War and is marked in 2018 on 25 April. In attendance were Major Leanne Chambers representing the New Zealand Defence Force and Group Captain Antony Martin from the Australian High Commission. Pictured with RCS branch chair Godfrey Hall (c).
12 March 2018: RCS Ireland branch celebrated Commonwealth Day at the Australian Embassy in Dublin. Speaking at the event, Mr Simon Mamouney, Australian Deputy Head of Mission in Ireland, underscored the power and potential of the Commonwealth to add value to world affairs. Irish Senator, Neale Richmond, also addressed the event, which was attended by Irish and international diplomats, politicians, journalists, academics, and others. Senator Richmond stated that: “The Commonwealth offers Ireland another window to the world, where we can build on existing relations to solidify our aim to be an island at the centre of the world. The theme of a shared future for this year's Commonwealth Day is particularly relevant for Ireland as we embark on a new chapter of relations with our nearest neighbours in the UK... A new approach to the Commonwealth would offer Ireland opportunities in many areas, particularly sport… and one day I hope to see Irish athletes from across our island competing in the Commonwealth Games, the second largest games in the world." RCS Ireland is grateful to the Australian Embassy in Dublin for hosting this excellent event. Pictured: Senator Neale Richmond.
12 March 2018: the University of Bath organised a special event as part of the Commonwealth Big Lunch celebrations. Hosted at the sports training village it brought together Commonwealth and Olympic athletes, Commonwealth students representing over 25 nations, and aspiring students from Bath schools. The Guest of Honour was Dame Katherine Grainger, the five-times Olympic rowing medallist and Chair of UK Sport. Also present was the Chair of the Council, the Mayor of Bath, Ian Gilchrist, and Godfrey Hall representing RCS Bath and District Branch.
RCS Bristol's Commonwealth celebration took place on Sunday 11th March with the Lord Mayor and the Vice-Lord Lieutenant attending a service in the Lord Mayor's Chapel with two selected volunteer Commonwealth Scholars who read the lessons: Nina Pels and Charuni Pathmeswaran. This was followed by lunch at Commonwealth House for the guests, including 15 other Commonwealth Scholars.The Service was followed on 12 March by a flag-raising ceremony on College Green in Bristol, with the Lord Lieutenant and the Lord Mayor in attendance. The Queen's Message was read by Mrs Peaches Golding and the Affirmation was read by the Lord Mayor.
Pictured: Guests from the service in the Lord Mayor's Chapel. Credit Rizwan Javed, Commonwealth Scholar representative, 2018.
12 March 2018, Commonwealth Day, was celebrated in Jersey with a short ceremony at the Town Cenotaph. The Island's Lt. Governor, HE Sir Stephen Dalton read a message from the Commonwealth Secretary-General and the Bailiff, Sir William Bailhache read the Commonwealth Affirmation before the Commonwealth flag was raised by young cadets of the Islands air, sea and land forces. HE Sir Stephen and Lady Dalton hosted a reception at Government House in the evening for members of RCS Jersey Branch and their guests.
6 March 2018: RCS Bath and District Branch members were joined by local Commonwealth students for a reception at the Guildhall when they met with Mayor, Ian Gilchrist, to learn about his role and the history of the city. During the evening they were given a short talk on how the RCS Bath and District Branch could help them during their stay. Students from both universities and several local schools were able to socialise at this annual event which is supported by the Mayor’s office.
Pictured, students with the Mayor and RCS Bath branch chair and members.
9 February 2018: RCS Bath and District Branch Chair, Godfrey Hall and wife join some of the Commonwealth Scholars from the University of Bath at their scholarship reception in the Assembly Rooms, Bath. The Branch sponsors several of the scholars on an annual basis - they in turn take an active part in branch activities.
28 January 2018: RCS Jersey Branch members and their guests met for the Annual January Sunday lunch at St Brelade Bay hotel. It was a very successful afternoon with a most enlightening speaker. Dr Lesley Dickie, CEO of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, spoke of the many countries where the Trust has ongoing conservation projects.
14 - 24 January 2018: the Commonwealth Students’ Welfare Group of India (CSWGI) visited the Republic of Cyprus to participate in Commonwealth meetings aimed at forging a close cooperation between two RCS branches, as well as establishing contacts, exchanging experiences and best practices, and discussing possibilities for synergies in the future. The delegation visit was facilitated by the newly established RCS Cyprus branch through its Director, Anna Karafoulidou, and the Cyprus High Commission, India.
11 January 2018: RCS Jersey Branch held its 2017 Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition Prize Giving evening. Sponsored by Langham Hall Fund Management, many of the 36 award winners, their families and teachers enjoyed a very pleasant prize giving ceremony. The students were presented with their gift tokens by His Excellency, Lt Governor of Jersey, Sir Stephen Dalton.
14 December 2017: Official launch of RCS Malta Branch. In attendance were the Honourable Minister Mr. Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and His Excellency Mr. Stuart William Gill, OBE, British High Commissioner for Malta, who gave speeches in honour of the event. Mr. Peter Sant Manduca, President of RCS Malta Branch and Mayor of Mdina, stated that the Executive Committee was ready to commence 'its mission to drive positive social, environmental and economic change, to promote dialogue between organisations for the well-being and prosperity of individuals, to empower young people, and to celebrate cultural diversity and the values shared by citizens of the Commonwealth.' Pictured Minister Abela addresses the gathering.
5 December 2017: RCS Jersey Branch held a very successful 'Christmas Get-together' at the United Club. The guest speaker for the evening, Peter Le Rossignol, appropriately spoke of Christmas' in the 18th and 19th centuries. Guests said of his talk that it was 'so descriptive you felt transported back into that time'.
5 December 2017: Members of the RCS Bath and District Branch and guests joined with Commonwealth students from the University of Bath, Bath Spa and Bristol University at their annual Christmas lunch. The event was also attended by their patron the Mayor of Bath and staff from Bath Spa University. It included a talk from Alex Abaca from Uganda who is currently studying for a Ph.D in Biology the University of Bath and has been financially supported by the branch. Other sponsored students were present, together with those studying Global and Commonwealth Affairs. Also in attendance were members of the Britain-Australia Society and Janet Kirk from the African Society.
27 October 2017: The Commonwealth Club of Rome celebrated its 70 anniversary with a conference and lunch, attended by the UK Ambassador to Rome, Jill Morris and the chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, Lord Marland.
17 October 2017: Bath and District Branch representatives, Godfrey and Sue Hall, met up with Commonwealth Scholars at the University of Bath International Scholars Reception when they had a chance to hear more about their studies and how they were getting used to life in the UK. The new incoming students were also able to experience the Roman Baths and meet with the Mayor of Bath, RCS members, donors and University staff.
September 2017: Cyprus The Queen's Baton toured Cyprus in September, its last European stop on the way to Australia and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Escorted by Cypriot athletes, the Baton visited the archaeological sites of Kourion (Curium) and the Temple of Apollo Hylatis in Limassol, the Medieval Castle of Paphos and the Famagusta Gate of the Venetian Walls of the capital Nicosia. The Baton was also present at various schools as well as at the Caledonia Falls on the Troodos mountain range in the framework of The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy.
September 2017: Jersey The Queen’s Baton arrived in Jersey in September during the European leg of its relay to the Gold Coast, Australia. As the baton left the States Chamber, RCS Member Senator Sarah Ferguson passed it to waiting RCS members. Pictured Jennie Philpott, Ian Philpott, Anne Pasturel and Geoffrey Coppock.
August 2017: Jersey Branch President Harry Read and Branch Secretary Dr. Susan Taylor together with Council Member Anne Pasturel and Immediate Past President Angela Jeune were delighted to have the opportunity of a meeting with Richard Burge, Chief Executive, Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council during his official visit to meet with Members of Jersey’s States Assembly. All found Richard Burge's view of the Commonwealth situation interesting and enlightening and look forward to the 2018 Commonwealth Summit.
14 July 2017: Cayman Islands Branch President Mr Lemuel Hurlston and wife Marcia joined the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, the visiting delegation accompanying the Baton and others in celebrating the Queens Baton journey at the Reception at Government House in George Town, Grand Cayman. The historic visit was subsequently celebrated at several venues including on the other two Cayman Islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, over the Baton's four day stay, before its departure for The Bahamas on 18 July.
Commonwealth Day 2017: Schoolchildren in the Cayman Islands parade with flags - just one of a number of activities organised for the day by the newly structured Cayman Islands Branch. Other activities included a flag-raising ceremony, a service, and various activities within schools. Read the report
Commonwealth Day 2017: Jersey Branch members attended the Raising of the Commonwealth Flag in St. Helier early in the morning. An evening reception for members and guests was held and RCS Life Member Senator Sir Philip Bailhache read the Queen’s message.
Commonwealth Day 2017: The Commonwealth Club of Rome celebrated the day with a lunch at the Rooftop Terrace, Savoy Hotel. The Queen's message was read, also a report on the Trade Ministers meeting in London. In attendance were Ministers, Counsellors and Chargés d'Affaires from: Britain, Canada, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia.
12 March 2017: RCS Bath Branch and students from the University of Bath and Bath Spa University attended the Commonwealth Service at Bath Abbey during which the Affirmations were read. Pictured Christian, Buddhist and Muslim students Brioney May–Russ (UK), Siok Wah Tay (Malaysia) and Abdul Rahman-Adamu- Bukari.
Commonwealth Day 2017: The Bristol Commonwealth Society held their annual flag-raising ceremony on College Green Attended by (pictured), Chevening Commonwealth Scholar, Yvonne Tago with The Mayor, Marvin Rees (left) and The Lord Mayor of Bristol (right).
15 February 2017: Commonwealth Scholars and Global Studies students from the University of Bath, Bristol and Bath Spa University met together with RCS Bath members on February 15th at the Guildhall Bath. Hosted in conjunction with the mayor of Bath students had a chance to learn more about the mayor’s role in the city, meet with officials and examine some of the many valuable artefacts in the Mayor’s Parlour. Godfrey Hall, Chair of the Bath and District Branch, gave a short talk on the role of the branch and the work of the RCS worldwide. Students from as far away as Pakistan, Malaysia and Uganda had a chance to mix with UK students who are studying International Affairs.
1st July 2016, The Commonwealth Club of Rome together with Rome 2024 organised a meeting focussing on sport as an opportunity for social and economic growth. The event had two objectives: the first, sharing the vision and key points in the dossier for Rome's 2024 bid and introducing the coming edition of the Commonwealth Games, a sport event organised by the Commonwealth Games Federation; the second, discussing the social and economic impact the events could have on the host countries.
May 2016: Tribute to the late Miss Margaret A Brayton, MBE
Margaret Brayton who died on 29th April at the age of 96 was a longstanding very active member, former Councillor and Vice President of the RCS. A retired nurse who trained in Edinburgh, she was one of the last surviving nurses who served on the ‘little ships’ at Dunkirk in the Second World War. Margaret was the first Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth Nurses Federation (now Commonwealth Nurses & Midwives Federation) with an office in 18 Northumberland Avenue where very many nurses and allied professionals from across the Commonwealth came to visit.
She travelled to many Commonwealth countries and was involved at local level with communities as well as participating in many Conferences and Committees concerned with the development of health and education issues. She was a mentor to many and gave unstintingly of her time and energies to help others, particularly in women’s organisations and advancing the opportunities for young people. Margaret was a good raconteur, much loved and respected.
Her 80th and 90th birthdays were celebrated at the RCS’ Commonwealth Club. She had been in a care home for several years prior to her death and is survived by her niece. She remained particularly close to the Caribbean nurses associations and The Commonwealth Nurses & Midwives Federation are likely to organise a thanksgiving or memorial service for her at which the Commonwealth and Women's organisations will wish to be represented.
The funeral was held on Monday 23rd May at 12 noon, at Golders Green Crematorium, London.
Students of Sir John A. Cumber School display the flags of the Commonwealth. Courtesy Cayman Compass.
Commonwealth Day 2016: Cayman Islands Branch celebrated with the annual Church Service at the St. George’s Anglican Church with the Affirmations read by Martina Watler, Junior Runner-up in the 2015 Essay Competition; Scouts, Brownies and Girl Guides also participated. Governor Kilpatrick hoisted the flag in front of the Government Administration Building as part of the Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth initiative andthe Cayman Islands Youth Parliament held their annual meeting in the Legislative Assembly. Meanwhile schools shared in morning assemblies and participated in flag parades or storytelling.
Commonwealth Day 2016: Bristol Branch David Osiany, a Masters postgraduate student from Kenya, studying at Bristol University, was invited to raise the Commonwealth Flag on College Green, with the Lord Mayor, Cllr Mrs Campion Smith, and Mrs Mary Prior MBE, HM Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, in attendance. The Queen's Message was read by the Lord Lieutenant, and the Lord Mayor read out the Affirmation to the assembled company of students, pupils from Cathedral School, members of the Forces, local MPs and RCS branch members.
Commonwealth Day 2016: Guernsey Branch enjoyed a successful Commonwealth Flag raising ceremony at the Sea Mast in St. Peter's Port. It was an historic day too for Guernsey as the new Lieutenant Governor was sworn in - Vice Admiral Ian Corder read the Queens message to the Commonwealth as part of the installation.
February 2016: Birmingham Commonwealth Association (BCA) is delighted that the Royal Commonwealth Society has approved its application to join its International network committed to improving the lives and prospects of citizens across the Commonwealth. The BCA was established in March 2014 as an initiative of Birmingham City Council’s then leader, Sir Albert Bore. It has since grown to encompass three areas of focus: Trade and Business, Communities and Education.
6th February 2016: Bath and District Branch were once again in the news as members were in attendance at the Scholarship Awards at the University of Bath when a number of Commonwealth scholars were presented with their certificates including scholarships provided by the branch.
Photo: Godfrey Hall, Chair, meets with Commonwealth scholars.
3rd February 2016: Commonwealth scholars joined with international students from schools and universities in Bath at a special reception at the Guildhall. Held in the presence of the Mayor of Bath, Councillor William Sandry, the students were given some background into the mayoral role and afterwards learnt more about the activities of the RCS branch in Bath from the local chair Godfrey Hall. Students from Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Ghana and Barbados were amongst the guests. After the talk they had the chance to met local branch members and find out about more about the activities which have been arranged for 2016.
Photo: International students attend a special reception organised by the RCS Bath and District Branch and Mayor’s Office. It was held in the presence of the Mayor of Bath and branch members at the Mayor’s Parlour in the magnificent Guildhall.
Across the Europe region, 3 Queens Young Leaders have been announced - see the list
Commonwealth Day 2015, RCS Cayman Islands: Celebrations for 2015 in the Cayman Islands took three forms – a Church Service, a Youth Parliament and the Schools’ celebrations and Essay Competition. The theme for this year’s celebrations was 'A Young Commonwealth'. Uniformed groups and schools attended the service, and participated in a colourful display of the flags of the Commonwealth member countries. All activities were coordinated by the Cayman Islands Branches of the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
Read the RCS Cayman Islands Branch report of the day's celebrations
Commonwealth Day 2015, Guernsey Branch: Reading the Commonwealth Day Affirmation in St Peter Port, Guernsey. His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, Air Marshal Peter Walker CB CBE, raised the Commonwealth Flag and read out Her Majesty The Queen's message at the celebratory breakfast that followed.
Commonwealth Day 2015, Bristol Branch: Commonwealth Day celebrations included a civic procession and ceremonial raising of the Commonwealth flag on College Green, with the Lord Mayor Councillor, Alistair Watson reading HM The Queen's message. The flag was raised by a student from the Commonwealth, Ruman Banerjee (pictured). Pupils from Bristol Cathedral School joined the procession and flag-raising.
8th March 2015: RCS Bath Branch members were joined by local students at Bath Abbey to take part in the reading of the Commonwealth Affirmations. Featured in the photo with Godfrey Hall, Chair of the RCS Bath Branch, Alex Abaca from Uganda studying at the University of Bath, Alexandra Downie–Ngini from Kenya a pupil at Kingswood Senior School, Francesca Opoku–Gyamfi from Ghana studying at The Royal High School and Emma Kovalevsky, an Australian student at Bath Spa University.
11th February 2015, Commonwealth students from the University of Bath and Bath Spa University joined together with sixth formers from Kingswood School to enjoy an evening reception in the Mayor's Parlour, at the Guildhall. Organised by the Bath and District branch of the RCS in conjunction with the mayors office they had the opportunity of meeting Her Worshipful the Mayor of Bath Councillor Cherry Beath and learning more about the mayoral role and the links between the RCS and the city.
19th November 2014- Solomon Mugera gave a lecture entitled 'The BBC Africa' at BRLSI, Queens Square, Bath. As BBC Africa Editor, he currently oversees the managerial and editorial direction of BBC Africa programmes.
October 2014: The Budiriro Trust presents a talk by David Coltart, Zimbabwean Senator and recent Minister of Education, on “Educating the Youth in Zimbabwe - Building for a Better Future” on 8th October at 6.30pm at the Free Word Centre, 60 Farrington Road, EC1R 3GA.
Since 1967, the Budiriro Trust has given grants to many hundreds of students in Zimbabwe in order to equip them to play their part in the professional, administrative and technical life of the country. The Trust is committed to support this vital work of education in Zimbabwe at higher secondary levels and in technical and vocational training. For full details please visit the Trust's website.
On 3rd October at 9:30am. A leading figure in the political opposition in Nigeria, Lai Mohammed, who is national spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress (APC) will talk about the party’s campaign in the run up to next February’s General Election in Nigeria. He will discuss Boko Haram and Africa’s fight against Islamic terrorism, the failure of the Nigerian Government to rescue the kidnapped girls, and the financial scandals that risk destabilising Africa’s largest economy. The briefing will take place at Award House, 7-11 St Matthew Street, SW1P 2JT, RSVP to email@example.com
In July, 21 students from Midsomer Norton Sixth Form are travelling to Kenya to undertake volunteer work in a deprived area of Nakuru. Working in two schools, giving help in the classroom, on building projects and on their feeding programmes, the students have received generous support from the Bath and District Branch of The Royal Commonwealth Society.
Godfrey Hall, Chairman of the local branch of the RCS said “In keeping with this most recent Affirmation, it is wonderful to see a team of young people from our local area going to Kenya to help in such a positive way. I am confident that the experience will lead the students to understand more fully, some of the difficulties facing our Commonwealth family members elsewhere in the world. We are delighted to be able to support them in this venture”.
On 25th June 2014, the Bath and District Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society hosted Ladi Dariya from Nigeria, who told her amazing life story. Part of a very poor family of thirteen children she went from selling bean cakes on the streets of Jos to a Masters Degree in Management. Supported by the Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund between 1988 and 1991, Ladi now holds an important executive job in the UK and is married with two children.