STUDENTS from Coleg Gwent were among the 1,000 young people from across the UK who were at Westminster Abbey for the annual Commonwealth Day Observance, Britain’s largest annual inter-faith gathering.

The celebration was attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

This year’s Observance, which was held on March 10, celebrated the 2014 theme Team Commonwealth.

Independent Living Skills (ILS) students from Coleg Gwent’s Crosskeys campus in Caerphilly were invited to join the service in Westminster Abbey thanks to their involvement in Commonwealth projects.

“We were delighted to once again represent Wales at the international Commonwealth Day Observance service,” said ILS tutor Victoria English.

“Commonwealth projects including the essay competition and the Jubilee Time Capsule have provided fantastic opportunities for our students, so we feel very honoured to have attended this year’s UK service with the Queen.”

Speakers included inspirational campaigner Malala Yousafzai, one of Great Britain’s most successful Paralympians, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, and Olympic gold medallist Lord Sebastian Coe.

The critically acclaimed MOBO award-winner and Brit nominee Laura Mvula performed, and a poem specially commissioned for Commonwealth Day was read by South African writer and performance artist Phillippa Yaa de Villiers.

Closer to home, a small specially invited group from Coleg Gwent’s Crosskeys Campus Independent Living Skills department celebrated the first ever Commonwealth Observance Day flag raising ceremony at Cardiff Castle. The Coleg Gwent representatives joined First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones, Dr. Peter Beck, HM Lord-Lieutenant and the Chair of Cardiff Council at the event.