Flag Raising

March 2019

Northampton shines a light on Tibet

It’s been 20 years since Caroline Scattergood and the then Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Ulric Gravesande, together raised the Tibetan flag outside Northampton’s Guildhall.

This immediately became a yearly ceremony for Caroline and subsequent Mayors. In addition, she has also raised the flag at Althorp at the invitation of Earl Spencer and at Castle Ashby at the invitation of Lord Northampton.

This year is particularly special because it is the 60th anniversary since the young Dalai Lama fled Tibet. This followed an uprising by the people who feared he would be killed by the invading Chinese army.

During the past 20 years Northampton has kept the Tibetan cause at the top of the world agenda and Caroline has been a guest, not only of the British Parliament but also at Tibet House and Westminster Hall in London. Caroline has been personally thanked by the Dalai Lama during their meeting in Glasgow a few years back.

So, on this very special year, the Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Tony Ansell, welcomed Mr Sonam Tsering Frasi, The Dalai Lama’s Representative for Northern Europe, the Baltic States and Poland and Mr Sonam Norbu Ratsa, a leading member of the Tibetan Parliamentarians in exile to the annual event at the Guildhall. Also present were representatives from Tibet House and members of the Tibetan Relief fund. 

The Guildhall was packed with long-term supporters including many Councillors and previous Mayors including Ulric Gravesande, Cllr Les Marriott and Lee Mason. The Deputy Leader of Northampton Borough Council, Cllr Phil Larratt, officiated and thanked everyone present and those who sent letters of support including such friends as Joanna Lumley and Gloria Hunniford.

Perhaps, most importantly, Tibetans themselves were kept up-to-date by Radio Asia’s telephone interview with Caroline. Amazingly, this can be heard throughout Tibet and the station is, of course, based in the USA in Washington. 

Before everyone moved to the front of the Guildhall to hoist the Tibetan flag Sonam Tsering Frasi thanked the people of Northampton for being such wonderful friends and presented Cllr Larratt, the Mayor and Caroline with the traditional Tibetan scarf called a Khata which symbolises purity and compassion. The Mayor presented him with his own tie embroidered with the Tibetan flag.
The ceremony, which included speeches by Caroline, Cllr Larratt and the Mayor, concluded with a prayer composed by the Dalai Lama which is a gift to all of us who would like the world to be peaceful and loving. Perhaps you would like to have this as a gift from the Dalai Lama.

February 2019
March 5th 2018

Tibetan Flag Flies over Northampton
Shine A Light on Tibet was started in 1999 by Caroline Scattergood by raising the Tibetan flag with the then Mayor, Ulrick Gravesande, outside the Guildhall. On the 5th March it was raised again, just as it has been every year since. 

In 2002, with the support of the Northampton Women’s Forum, Northampton Borough Council awarded a Tibetan Nun Honorary Citizenship of Northampton while she was languishing in a Tibetan prison. It was accepted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative Mrs Kelsang Takla on her behalf and one year later she was free.

During the years Caroline has also seen the flag waving proudly over Althorpe (at the invitation of Earl Spencer) and over Castle Ashby together with Lord Northampton. But it is at the Guildhall each year that Mayors and Dignitaries of all parties have shown their support of the Tibetan people who are still struggling under the dominance of China. 

This year, on Monday 5th March, the snows had melted, the sun shone and Caroline Scattergood, the Mayor of Northampton Councillor Gareth Eales, the Leader of Northampton Borough Council Cllr Jonathan Nunn and the Deputy Leader Cllr Phil Larratt stood together with the Dalai Lama’s Representative Chonpel Tsering to fly the flag for this, the nineteenth year.

The Guildhall was packed with supporters, many of whom had travelled from various parts of the country to join together with Councillors, business people, friends and supporters, and many members of the original Women’s Forum. A tribute was paid to the late member Linda Brede and a very special welcome was given to Fran Wire the widow of ex-Mayor Terry Wire. 

Although she wasn’t free to attend, Joanna Lumley sent a message to be read out by her chum Caroline Scattergood which contained a wonderful philosophy in these hard times “The pendulum always swings wildly at times of change and soon the world will stop being SO MAD”. 

February 2018
March 2017

Friday 4th March 2016

Thursday 5th March 2015
Boris Johnson and Sandie Shaw send their support for Tibet flag ceremony in Northampton

The Tibetan flag has been flown above the Guildhall in Northampton for the 16th time. The gesture of solidarity with the Chinese occupied Himalayan country takes place annually.

Local campaigner Caroline Scattergood and Leader of Northampton Council David Mackintosh welcomed Mr Chonpel Tsering, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Representative in Europe. Hundreds of supporters packed into the Guildhall including councillors and religious representatives.

Some of the many letters of support were read aloud by Cllr Mackintosh and Caroline Scattergood and these included letters specially penned for the occasion by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Michael Ellis MP and sixties pop star, and Buddhist, Sandie Shaw.

Friday 6th March 2015
"A Conspiracy of love for the Tibetan People" by Caroline Scattergood
Northampton Town should be so proud… as over a hundred people gathered together – young and old – all breathing together in love and compassion.
It was on Wednesday 4th March in the beautiful Guildhall that we learnt that… to conspire means to breathe together… and so we did for Tibet.
The Dalai Lama's Representative Mr Chonpel Tsering was 
witness to this enchanted moment. He said that "Northampton was unique" and I agree.
Tears flowed as the hall rang out with the sounds of Barbra Streisand and Il Divo singing "Somewhere (There's a Place for Us)". Images of Tibetans flashed on the screen and as the music reached a crescendo and the words got to "Hold my hand and I'll take you there" an image of Prince Charles holding the Dalai Lama's hand and giggling was shown – I like to think maybe he could lead him 
home to Tibet. His Holiness will be 80 this year; time is not on his side. We need to make it happen. 
People came from as far away as Portsmouth, Leicester and Milton Keynes. They were proof that we have what we all take for granted – our home. Even if we travel hundreds of miles we can think we can go home to a place of 
safety and comfort where we BELONG. Tibetans haven't got that privilege and that is why we are… CONSPIRING IN LOVE FOR TIBET.
Our own total lifetime is just a "speck". Delaying anything makes no sense. Everyone that day was aware of this and they were united in courage alongside myself, The 
Leader of the Council David Mackintosh, Councillors, ex Mayors, all faiths, all nationalities – united as one.
This makes me think we should banish the words "Hope" and "Maybe" from our vocabulary and say
"We will make it happen""We will make it better"
When we take action we can eliminate all fear!
As that great ancient hall flowed with a "Conspiracy of Love" and no one complaining the world should change – but all doing something to instigate this change.
Northampton and its citizens are Tibet's shining hope.
God bless you all! 


Sunday 27th April 2014

Under the Cherry Tree there are no strangers:

Blog by Caroline Scattergood

There’s a Japanese saying… “Under the Cherry Trees there are no strangers”. On Sunday 27th April this saying glowed in all its glory as the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Cllr Brian White, raised the Tibetan flag at the Japanese Buddhist Temple at Willen in Milton Keynes. 

Friends and I arrived from Northampton to find a warm welcome from Sister Maruta, who is the blessed shepherdess of love at the temple, and Catherine Mostyn Scott, an angel for the Tibetan cause. 
It is a great feeling to see the love for Tibet spreading after 15 years of Northampton Councillors support. It was also a relief to witness all the hard work of Catherine and not having the anxiety that arranging such an event brings. 
Catherine was joined by Tibetan people from London and Wales and there were children bearing flags around the circuit of the lakes. There were inspirational words spoken by Kunchok Nyima and Wangdue Tsering, Secretary of the Office of Tibet, London. 

Lee James Billingham raised our spirits by singing his own composition “Cry of the SnowLion”. 
The flag itself was blessed first inside the Temple by the Venerable Lama Rig Zin. 
There was food to share and then a film… “Little Tibet II”. Its Director, Sonam Anjatsang, was in attendance. I couldn’t stay for the film as my dogs, donkey and goose would be getting worried back at home. It was hard to leave that peaceful setting. 

So here we had united in peace. Tibetan, Japanese, British, Irish, young and old all under the Tibetan flag… banned in its own country… Tibet. Catherine said “We fly it here because we can”. 
I read somewhere that Japanese Buddhism is “A World of Dreams…” and the late great teacher and holy man, Nichiren Daishonin, said that a nation could become peaceful by chanting “Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo…” and of course the Dalai Lama chants “Om Mani Padme Hum”.  Our calling should be to remember their dream and contemplate how to free the people of Tibet. 
As we see the seeds sown in winter emerging in the spring… our seeds of harmony and compassion sown at the Temple in Milton Keynes, and of course at the Guildhall in Northampton, will adorn the human world and peace has to come. 
We can do it! 

See you under the CHERRY TREE! x


Tuesday 4th March 2014
Tibetan Flag flies again over Northampton

Good people gathered together in Northampton TO KEEP TIBET ALIVE 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative Mr Thubten Samdup was the Guest of Honour at the 15th year of raising the Tibetan flag. He was greeted by the Mayor & Mayoress Cllr Les & Lisa Marriott along with many Councillors from Northampton, Corby and Milton Keynes. There was surprise visit from the Marquess of Northampton to mark the occasion. 

The event began with a beautiful rendition of “Only Remembered for What They Have Done” from the musical WARHORSE. It was dedicated to the courage of the Tibetan men and women who sacrificed their own lives by setting themselves on fire to get attention for the suffering of their fellow Tibetans and also to the good people who support this just and honourable cause. Heads were bowed in prayer. 

David Mackintosh, Leader of the Council read out words of support from celebrity actress Joanna Lumley. Shesent a thousand thanks for what was happening. Actress Anita Dobson (Angie from Eastenders) hoped everyone would continue the fantastic work for such a worthy cause. Brian Binley MP hoped it was a successful day and sent good wishes to all. 
The Mayor Cllr Les Marriott read out words from Earl Spencer who thanked everyone for all they do and sent his best wishes. TV presenter Gloria Hunniford was so sorry not to attend and passed on warm congratulations on the inspirational work which she so admires and said her prayers were with everyone.  

Caroline then spoke of the bravery of the Tibetan women who rose up against the Chinese army on March 12th 1959. She spoke of the Tibetan heroine Ama Adhe who spent over 20 years in a prison, tortured, humiliated and torn from the arms of her 3 year old son and 1 year old baby girl, never to see her son again. He died tragically from the grief of seeing his mother dragged away. Her baby girl was in her twenties when they met again. Ama’s story is one of unbearable suffering, but it is a testimony of great hope for humanity. Ama’s story is one of unbearable suffering, but it is a testimony of great hope for humanity.

Ama never wavered in her courage and compassion. She gave constant attention to the needs of other prisoners and refused to divulge information, even under torture. She is “The Voice That Remembers” as told in the book of the same name. 
Then there was a soulful version of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” played alongside are and beautiful photographs shown on the big screen. The day was a reminder to Tibetans “You are not alone”. 
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative, Mr Thubten Samdup read out a letter from MP Michael Ellis who said he was very concerned about the situation in Tibet. “The conduct of the Chinese Government with regards to Tibet has repeatedly shown how little they respect the rights and wills of the Tibetan people and that campaigns like the one today are very necessary and important.” 
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative, Mr Thubten Samdup continued by sharing his own heartfelt words that were a gift to the occasion and he said his farewells as he is returning to Canada and his duties there. 
The actress Rula Lenska sent a wonderful letter of support. She said she had the honour and privilege of meeting the Dalia Lama on 2 occasions. She said her heart cries for this wonderful people forced out of their country – lineage – traditions and language. “We can only trust and believe that the universe has a reason and ultimately Tibet will once again be Tibetan and not Chinese. I pray with all my heart this will happen soon. Sending love, light and peace to all you Buddha souls – OHM MANI PADME HUM Rula Lenska x.” This was sent from the heart and captured the audience and spirit of the moment. 
The event was brought to a sacred close with the haunting sounds of Tibetan music played by Rozz and Ant. This gave people the opportunity to think of what they had heard and to pray. 
The flag was raised by the Mayor and Thubten Samdup and Caroline said “We raise it because we can. Every soul who was drawn here today has something unique to contribute… we are all pioneers for goodness.” 
                    TIBET WILL BE FREE! 



Tuesday 5th March 2013
Tibetan Flag raised in Northampton

Kind Northampton hearts gathered at the Town's Guildhall for the raising of the Tibetan Flag. 

The guest of honour, Mr Thubten Samdup, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s representative, inspired the packed hall with his words of compassion and wisdom. He was greeted by the Mayor & Mayoress Roger & Jenny Conroy, the Leader of the Council David Mackintosh, Keith Davies ex-Leader of the Council and many other Councillors, including the Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire Cllr Terry Wire.

The film and song “Burning in the Mountains” was shown. This had distressing scenes of young Tibetans setting themselves on fire to raise awareness for their FELLOW Tibetans. The film also showed the Dalai Lama crying at this tragic loss of life.

The singer and composer of the song, Jane Alston, was also at the event. Before the event began photos and names of the deceased were shown on a big screen with the sacred Tibetan music … “Rest in Natural Great Peace” playing in the background. This is spoken by Sogyal Rinpoche inspired by a poem by Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche.

There were speeches, prayers, music and the Mayor, Roger Conroy, read out a heartfelt letter of concern from TV presenter, Gloria Hunniford. It said, “It is a great honour to send love to this event and help keep the Tibetan lineage alive. My daughter TV celebrity, Caron Keating, was battling with cancer and she had the Dalai Lama’s photo by her bed and Tibetan monks stayed in her home. She gained incredible strength from their kindness and care. I wish you much success in this incredibly honourable cause. My very best wishes” – Gloria Hunniford.  A Mother’s message from the heart.

Caroline Scattergood, organizer, spoke of one young 20 year old Tibetan girl “Tsering Kyi” who took her life in desperation to help Tibet, saying to her family, “Life is meaningless if we don’t do something for Tibet.” 


David Mackintosh, Leader of the Council, spoke on behalf of the Council and their 14 years of support for the Tibetan people, despite being asked by the Chinese officials to not fly the flag last year … the Council say, “It’s traditional now!”

A letter was read out from Michael Ellis MP for Northampton. He said, “I am pleased that the people of Northampton will again have an opportunity to show their support for the Tibetan people. I would have liked to have been able to attend but I am required at the House of Commons.

I remain very concerned about the situation in Tibet. The conduct of the Chinese Government with regards to Tibet has repeatedly shown how little they respect the rights and will of the Tibetan people. I hope that the new Chinese Leadership will show a reforming attitude to this matter and a new-found respect for Tibetan culture but until they do campaigners like those here today are so very important.

I know the Prime Minister also feels strongly about this, and alongside the Foreign Secretary, have repeatedly raised the human rights issue with the Chinese Government at every available opportunity. This diplomatic pressure will continue and I hope we will all eventually see a peaceful and equitable resolution.”

Before the flag was raised the audience sat in silence and contemplation while healing Tibetan sounds flowed around them, played by Rozz & Ant.

They were asked to pray for Tibet and the deceased’s mothers and fathers and share in their loss and grief.

The flag was raised and we were left with this thought:

The true way to mourn the dead …

… is to take care of the living that belong to them.

“So, Northampton will take care of Tibet.”

Tashi De Lek



Monday 14th May 2012
His Holiness the Dalai Lama awarded the Tmpleton Prize

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize at a moving ceremony held in St Paul's Cathedral. Caroline Scattergood shares her thoughts as she attended this wonderful occasion.

"What better place could there be than St Paul’s Cathedral to award this Holy, Heroic, Gentle man of peace, introduced as a ‘Charismatic Icon’.

Arriving at St Paul’s, an hour before the doors opened, and standing in an extremely cold wind and with rain beating down, my own selfish heart sank as I shivered and worried about my hair getting wet. Not a very spiritual, selfless moment!

This soon changed as I noticed I was surrounded by Tibetan people whose faces were glowing like the sun. The toddler’s and children’s warmth for this honoured occasion shone through the gloom. I was reminded of the courage of this Nation of people and the thousands that had crossed the Himalayas to escape persecution in Tibet to be near His Holiness in India.

Our seats were a long way from the front but, embraced by the Tibetan People’s excitement, it didn’t matter. We were all rewarded as the Dalai Lama and Dr John Templeton Jr. walked down the aisle. They passed within touching distance and you were engulfed in a surge of love from the hearts and smiles of the Tibetan people, many with eyes tinged with tears.

It is a great honour to receive the “Templeton Tree of Life” Medallion which is regarded as all nourishing and reflects a link between heaven and earth. It was in 1972 that the late Sir John Templeton created this prize for progress in religion, to identify entrepreneurs of the spirit.  His son, Dr John Templeton, presented the prize of £1,100,000 saying that His Holiness offers a universal voice of compassion that encompasses all human beings.

Humour twinkled throughout the Dalai Lama’s acceptance speech as he gave most of the prize money as a gift to Save the Children of India – a country that had opened their doors and hearts to him and his people over 50 years ago when they fled from their beloved Tibet.

This was followed by world class singer Jessye Norman with a rendition of “He’s got the whole world in his hands”. He certainly had the 2,000 people in St Paul’s in his hands.

What will continue to resonate in our hearts was the Dalai Lama’s compassion for all sentient beings and his magic way of building spiritual bridges.

The late Sir John Templeton would always say, “I love you all”, and as the guests left the Cathedral, it wasn’t difficult to imagine a world that embraces the Tibetan People’s culture of spiritual teachings – compassion, tolerance. generosity, gentleness, humour, and the acceptance of all sentient beings and their beliefs.

If we could only embrace the Dalai Lama’s message of

No them.

Just us.

A oneness of spirit…


…then the future for all our children and our children’s children would be bright indeed.

It was an honour to stand alongside the Tibetan Community who, even if they have little, will give of their hearts."

Tibet will be Free

Tashe de Lek


Tuesday 6th March 2012.
Tibetan Flag raised at Northampton's Guildhall

This years raising of the Tibetan Flag over Northampton's Guildhall saw one of the most moving gatherings in the event's 13 year history. 150 supporters joined with the Mayor of Northampton and the leader of the Borough Council, united in one heartfelt cause,

"To carry the sorrows of Tibet on our shoulders."

This is a campaign of goodness and loving kindness for the people of Tibet. Prayers were said and songs were sung dedicated to the monks, nuns, and lay Tibetans who have, with great courage, set themselves on fire and died in agony to highlight the unbearable suffering of their fellow Tibetans. Their names were read out and will be remembered in the hearts of all who attended.

A beautiful message of support was read out from Archbishop Desmond Tutu who said,

"Goodness ultimately prevails. Love, compassion, gentleness, caring and sharing will have the last word. The Dalai Lama and his people will return in peace to their beloved Homeland.
Love Arch."

"Kindness is the noblest weapon to conquer with. Their dreams will come true."

Pictured above are Caroline Scattergood with the Mayor of
Northampton cllr. Jamie Lane, leader of the Borough Council
Cllr. David Mackintosh alongside other County and Borough
  Wednesday 14 March 2012
Support for Tibetan Flag Raising

Flag raising event in Northampton
An annual flag raising for Tibet has been described as the most emotional yet by its organiser. Free Tibet campaigner Caroline Scattergood once again hoisted the country’s flag outside the Guildhall in Northampton.

A large group gathered on the steps of the building on Tuesday, March 6 for the day of music, prayer and speeches.

Support for Tibet
Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Jamie Lane, who helped Caroline raise the flag, also read words of support from Coronation Street actor William Roache, actress Joanna Lumley and Northampton North MP Michael Ellis.


For More details - please contact Caroline Scattergood on
01604 891487 - 07979235894 - or at


Global day of action for Tibet  Wednesday 2nd November 2011

As Lovers of Justice and Peace gathered around the World to unite their voices for Tibet, Northamptonshire's peaceful village of Flore joined them in a service of love. The Tibetan flag was flown by Cllr. Johnnie Amos at the Milennium Hall and War Memorial.

The uniqueness of this event was to see 16 Union Jacks blowing in the wind alongside Tibet's own flag.

We all prayed for the Mothers and Fathers of the many monks and nuns who have died so tragically, feeling that the only way to raise awareness of the horrific happenings in Tibet was to set themselves alight.

Their cries could be heard through their pain - "Give us freedom and let His Holiness the Dalai Lama return to Tibet."

Dreaming of a new era for Tibet is not foolish but it will take many many people joining in a force for good.

Please join us in this just and honourable cause and show the Tibetan People they are not alone.

Tibet will once more become a land of "Hope and Glory"!















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