THE borough council raised a flag to celebrate the start of Black History Month and appreciate the contribution black people have made to Basingstoke. 

Black History Month is an annual observance that originated in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month.

It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

It began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it is celebrated in October.

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The flag was raised at the council's civic offices to celebrate the borough's cultural diversity and to appreciate the contribution black people have made to Basingstoke and the surrounding areas.

Many were in attendance to witness the ceremony, with a number of students from South View School performing a rendition of This is Me from The Greatest Showman.

Council leader, Paul Harvey, said: "It's brilliant. Events like these show what an amazing community we have here in Basingstoke.

"Our black community has been integral to the local area for a number of years and it's only right that their contribution is commemorated and celebrated. We are so proud and privileged to be able to hold this flag-raising ceremony.

Basingstoke Gazette: Numerous residents and councillors attended the flag raising ceremonyNumerous residents and councillors attended the flag raising ceremony (Image: Mark Paine)

"It's also fantastic to see the students from South View, having them here to sing at the ceremony was great, and ultimately these kids are the future of our town and borough.

"This is a fantastic way to start Black History Month and we are looking forward to even more celebrations with a number of events planned and arranged throughout October."

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Former council leader, Simon Minas-bound, said: "It's really important to be able to give some civic importance to Black History Month and recognise and celebrate the contribution the black community has made to the area.

"We've got great diversity in the borough with a variety of communities woven into the fabric of Basingstoke and Deane, whose history is so important and deserves recognition. It's great we are able to celebrate that inclusion and diversity."

Mayor David Leeks said: "We have a great deal of respect for the black community in the Basingstoke and Deane borough. Their contribution to the local area cannot be understated at all, and the flag raising gives the community the acknowledgement it deserves."

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