SERVICES of celebration were held across Gwent on Monday to observe Commonwealth Day, with this year's event marking 70 years since the band of nations was formed in London.

At St Mary's Church in Magor, Year 6 children from Magor CIW Primary School and Undy Primary School attended a special service led by the reverend canon Jeremy Harris.

Canon Harris spoke to the congregation about the importance of values over material goods, using an allegory of a treasure chest.

"Imagine you found the treasure chest – what do you think would be inside?" he asked the pupils, who suggested money, gold, silver and jewels.

But the canon instead opened a box and handed out cards marked with values – such as compassion, love, wisdom, peace, trust, and forgiveness.

"These help us grow in knowledge and also to be more responsible citizens," he said. "These values are the things we really treasure. They help us build better communities, better schools, a better country and a better commonwealth."

The theme of this year's Commonwealth Day is 'a connected Commonwealth', and members of the congregation read out inspiring passages from the teachings of the Commonwealth's major religions, before Magor with Undy Community Council chair, Cllr Donna James, read the Commonwealth Affirmation, a statement of togetherness and understanding between its member states.

In Newport, the city council marked the day with a flag-raising service at the Civic Centre, officiated by the mayor’s chaplain, reverend Diane Notley.

Newport's mayor, Cllr Malcolm Linton, read a personal message from the Commonwealth's secretary-general, and the vice-lord lieutenant of Gwent read the Commonwealth Affirmation.

Monmouthshire County Council held a ceremony at County Hall in Usk. The flag was raised by chairman Cllr Peter Clarke, with representatives of local town councils and organisations in attendance.

And Caerphilly County Borough Council marked the occasion with its own flag-raising ceremony at its Penallta House headquarters.

In London, a congregation of 2,000 joined The Queen, who is head of the Commonwealth, to mark the occasion.