It has been a day of celebration around the world as a moment is taken to appreciate the willingness to share, to exchange and to act for the common good that are the essential ingredients belonging to the Commonwealth. The Trust enjoyed the service at Westminster Abbey where Ellie Goulding appropriately sang about 'walking in fields of gold' and Kofi Annan reflected on the extraordinary commitment of Her Majesty The Queen in this, her 90th year. We know many of our Walkway friends will have celebrated locally - like the school in The Falklands, who went out walking on their Walkway as part of the day - we hope it all went well.
We thought this a fitting time to share a quick update too, so here are a few cuttings from our diary:
Three weeks ago the Trust was invited by Chris Jenkins, VP for Europe on the Commonwealth Games Federation Executive, to visit him in Cardiff, Wales. He has kindly agreed to promote the case for more Walkways in his region at the next AGM in April and is also keen to start the process of discussing a Commonwealth Walkway in Wales as soon as possible too - thanks Chris!
This morning Her Honour Lois MItchell, Lt Governor of Alberta, Canada, invited The Trust to Canada House in London for a meeting. Brilliantly, she is keen to press on with the Commonwealth Walkway in Bannff and we are due to meet again soon to discuss the details further. While together we took a moment to show Her Honour one of our panels in Trafalgar Square and it was noted that there was once a similar panel outside Canada House. That panel was unveiled by HRH The Duke of Gloucester in 1983 but has been missing for sometime. We discussed the possibility to replace it to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada in 2017.
Unfortunately the Canada House panel is not the only one missing. Following an audit of the original Jubilee Walkway route it is now clear that of the 43 panels installed since 1977 five are in fact missing and 24 in need of updating. The panels provide a great service, interpreting many of the highlights in London, but the original technique - etched stainless steel - hasnt lasted nearly as well as the new embossed zinc type. The Trust met with the walking team in Transport for London last week to share the new report and plan to write to the Mayoral candidates next and invite them to pledge their support for making all the panels up to date with the more inclusive and legible technique.
Meanwhile, there are more panels for Walkways being made in other places. The Trust is continuing to finalise the Gold Coast Commonwealth Walkway panel and is still hoping to complete the Glasgow one too shortly. Most excitingly however is that last week we went to Liverpool and picked up The Queen's Walkway panel for Windsor. Thanks, as ever, to Paul the artist and Tony and Pauline (pictured) for all your help making that possible. It wasnt easy getting it into the van but it is now somewhere safe and we are very much looking forward to an extra special unveiling in April! More news on that very soon!
Finally, back to the Commonwealth Service again and a picture of the many Commonwealth flags outside Westminster Abbey today. It was a wonderfully colourful spectacle and illustrative of one of the prayers in the service which had asked: 'let us walk together; lets us sing together; in togetherness we can understand each other's minds"... His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, summed it up as 'a great global good' - Amen to that.