56 Polish flags were raised across Gloucestershire in southwest England to mark the Polish Heritage Days (PHD) that were inaugurated in the UK this weekend. The Polish ambassador, Arkady Rzigowi, participated in the celebrations there.

Although due to the coronavirus epidemic, most of the 70+ events planned as part of this year’s fifth edition of Polish Heritage Days are taking place online, some of them can be implemented in a traditional format.

This was the case on Sunday in Gloucester, where Ambassador Rzigoki, Mayor Kate Haig, city authorities and District Representative Richard Graham participated in the Polish flag-raising ceremony. However, already on Friday, on the occasion of Polish Heritage Days, the main streets of the city of 130 thousand people were decorated with fifty Polish flags, which will remain on display until Monday.

Ambassador Rzigoki told PAP that while more and more British cities are displaying Polish flags to mark Polish Heritage Days, this is the first time the entire county has done so, as is the case in Gloucestershire this year.

After the flag-raising ceremony, the ambassador was symbolically greeted by townspeople, and then he went to nearby Cheltenham, where he laid wreaths with the city’s mayor, Roger Weiborne, and House of Commons member Alex Chalk, at the memorial to those who died during the two World Wars. There is also a plaque on the memorial dedicated to Polish soldiers who died during WWII.

Jaroslaw Kobaszek, president of the Polish Association of Gloucestershire, told the PAP that the Polish diaspora in this province – which is estimated at 10,000. – has been very active for years, thanks to which the authorities are ready to join the initiatives in the framework of the PhD. As he says, in previous editions, before the pandemic, several thousand people participated in Polish festivals in Gloucester.

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Days of Polish Heritage is an initiative of the Polish Embassy in London. Aims to celebrate and promote by Poles living in the United Kingdom – on the occasion of the Day of the Polish Diaspora and Poles abroad and Flag Day of the Republic of Poland on May 2, the Constitution of May 3 – Polish culture, heritage of previous generations, Polish contribution to cultural life, economic and social activity of Great Britain .

Ambassador Rzigoki explains that the accumulation of various events organized by the Polish diaspora in one period and under one banner – Days of Polish Heritage, makes them more visible and year after year in which more and more local authorities participate and the local media are interested in them.

This year’s PhD opened on Saturday with the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the centenary of the Polish Embassy in the building at Portland Place 47 in London. The opening ceremony was attended by remote access to Edward, Duke of Kent, a cousin of the British Queen Elizabeth II.

From London: Bartłomiej Niedziński (PAP)

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