Celebration of Polish heritage in Gloucestershire
By David Wood
The Gloucestershire community will be celebrating Polish Heritage Days this weekend for the fifth year running.
The pandemic has meant that the traditional way of celebrating has had to change and adapt to the current situation.
A spokesman for the organisers said: "This year's theme is social solidarity and friendship. These values are extremely important at this very difficult time for all of us. Just like during the Second World War, we stand shoulder to shoulder to fight - this time against an invisible enemy.
"We are extremely proud that local authorities will honour the Polish community by displaying Polish flags at local town halls, as well as in Gloucester city centre."
From Friday, April 30, 50 white and red flags will be flown on the four Gate streets in Gloucester and will remain there throughout the bank holiday weekend. Polish flags will also appear in Cirencester, Stroud, Coleford and Cheltenham.
Additionally, the Polish flag will be flying in front of the BorgWarner headquarters in Stonehouse, which has been supporting Polish Heritage Days for many years.
"It will be an extraordinary weekend showcasing Polish-British friendship and solidarity," added the spokesman..
This year's celebrations will include the ceremonial hoisting of the Polish flag on the flagpole in Gloucester, the laying of commemorative wreaths in Cheltenham and a meeting with local authorities in Cirencester. Unfortunately, due to the current level of restrictions, these will not be public events.
People are encouraged to celebrate Polish Heritage Days in Gloucestershire and share their photos on social media by adding the hashtag #PLHeritageDays
Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PLHeritageDay
Polish Heritage Days in Gloucestershire are organised by the Polish Association Gloucestershire together with the Polish Academy in Gloucester. The partners of the event are the Polish Embassy in London, Gloucester City Council, Gloucester BID, Olive-Air, the Biedronki chain of Polish shops, BorgWarner, Gloucestershire County Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Stroud District Council and Forest of Dean District Council.
The originator of Polish Heritage Days is the Polish Embassy in London. The project was inaugurated in 2017 and this year is its fifth edition. The date of the event is related to the Day of the Flag and the Day of the Polish Diaspora and Poles abroad, celebrated on May 2 and the 'Constitution of 3rd May' celebration in Poland.
The aim of the project is a joint Polish-British celebration of Polish heritage. The celebrations are meant to draw attention to the contemporary, positive contribution of Poles to the cultural, economic and social life of Great Britain, as well as serve to remind people about our common Polish-British history. The project involves co-ordinated activities throughout the United Kingdom.
In 2019, Polish Heritage Day in Gloucester was a finalist of the prestigious Believe in Gloucester award in the Community Event of the Year category.
The symbol of Polish Heritage Days is a white and red checkerboard - the designation of Polish military aviation used during the Battle of Britain. Currently, it is the most recognisable symbol of Poles in Great Britain.
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