Parkes accepts BBC's challenge to fly Coventry's first official flag

Parkes has joined the friendly movement to help fly its sister city's first official flag in locations around the world.

Parkes is one of 26 sister cities of Coventry, England - there are 17 in Europe, seven in North America, one in Asia and one in Australia.

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio launched a competition late last year for its listeners to design a city flag for Coventry since it didn't have one.

The final result, designed by a Simon Wyatt of Hatton, has Lady Godiva - an iconic part of Coventry's long history - front and centre, with the flag's edges in blocks of sky blue, the colour which represents Coventry City Football Club.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Parkes Mayor Ken Keith OAM was happy to hop into his famous blue Elvis jumpsuit for a photo with the Coventry flag on our Henry Parkes Statue. Photo: Christine Little

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Parkes Mayor Ken Keith OAM was happy to hop into his famous blue Elvis jumpsuit for a photo with the Coventry flag on our Henry Parkes Statue. Photo: Christine Little

Lady Godiva was an 11th century noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry, in England, in order to gain remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants.

The flag is now flying high across the city and its radio station was tasked with getting the winning flag in as many prominent places as possible.

"And on our show, we do things differently," BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio producer Ben Wilkes told the Parkes Champion Post.

"We want to get the flag to as many places that Coventry is twinned with as possible around the world.

"Parkes is one of those places."

After the Champion Post accepted the challenge to fly the flag in Parkes long enough for a photo and video - seeking the assistance of the always obliging Mayor Ken Keith OAM - the flag arrived in Parkes in February.

With Coventry-born Sir Henry Parkes being the reason for the town's international relationship, editor Christine Little thought hanging the flag from the Henry Parkes statue the most appropriate location.

Of course, the moment wouldn't have been complete without the mayor hopping into his Elvis jumpsuit, recognising the iconic Parkes Elvis Festival.

"I never miss an opportunity to dress up," Cr Keith laughed.

He and Ms Little said it was a wonderful promotion for Parkes.

"It sounded like some fun and I'm all for helping to get our name of Parkes out there," Ms Little said.

Parkes' sister-city relationship with Coventry is the oldest sister-city relationship within Australia, with evidence dating back to 1939, according to the Australian Sister Cities Association.

And over those decades, there have been ongoing reciprocal visits by the two councils and sporting delegations

These have included the Lord Mayors of Coventry - Eddie Weaver (1983), Arthur Waugh (1988) and Sheila Collins accompanied by a 73-strong delegation in 2001 - our Centenary of Federation year.

The late Robert Wilson (OAM) in his role as Mayor of Parkes, accompanied by Michael Greenwood visited Coventry in 1989, repeated in 2000 by Cr Wilson and General Manager Alan McCormack, while in 2003 a Parkes soccer team and supporters also travelled to Coventry for some 'friendlies.'

In July 2012 Cr Keith was invited to attend the launch of a spectacular Lady Godiva Awakening project in Coventry that was to feature during the London Olympics.

JUNE 2011: The Parkes Embroiderers Guild officially officially completed their work on a stunning piece that was part of a Lady Godiva Moving Monument that featured at the 2012 London Olympics.

JUNE 2011: The Parkes Embroiderers Guild officially officially completed their work on a stunning piece that was part of a Lady Godiva Moving Monument that featured at the 2012 London Olympics.

Parkes' interest in the Lady Godiva art project was further enhanced by the Parkes Embroiderers Guild's participation in designing a square metre fabric piece donated towards Lady Godiva's cloak.

Parkes also features Moat Cottage at the Henry Parkes Centre, a replica of the home in Coventry where Sir Henry was born and raised as a child.

"I've always said we would only be a sister city if there was reason and a connection with Parkes," Cr Keith said.

The flag is now with Parkes Shire Council.