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PICTURES: New Banffshire flag flying proudly in communities

By Kyle Ritchie

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The new Banffshire flag has been officially launched and can now be seen flying at various locations in the Banff area.

A competition was held to design a flag for historic Banffshire in February this year, which was spearheaded by the Lord-Lieutenant of Banffshire Andrew Simpson, supported by Philip Tibbetts, March Pursuivant and Honorary Vexillologist at the Lyon Court.

Members of the public, including schools across the region, were encouraged to submit designs.

From the hundreds of entries, a committee of Banffshire residents selected four designs.

A public vote was then organised by Highland News and Media, both online and through its newspaper titles including the Banffshire Journal.

The winning entry was designed by Portessie Primary School pupil Ellie Stewart, whose design garnered more than 50 per cent of the vote.

The winning design, which incorporates a bridge and the sun in the colours of golden-orange, white and blue has now been registered with the Lyon Court.

The competition saw three of the four finalists hail from Keith Primary School in the shape of Oonagh Blake, Megan Jamieson and Dion Moir. All of the finalists received a prize.

Ellie said: "I did a bridge because Banffshire has a lot of bridges.

"I did a sunset because we have a lot of good sunsets."

In Ellie's design the white horizontal band represents the bridges that are emblematic of the county with rivers running through it and along its borders; from ancient in-land river crossings to the industrial viaducts along the coast. The blue colour represents both the rivers and the sea while the golden-orange below the bridge represents the barley and whisky made from the county's waters. The sun and golden sky symbolises the natural sunsets and agriculture.

The official launch event was held at Castle Hill in Cullen on Saturday where the flag was raised in front of invited guests and members of the public.

In the Banff and Macduff area, there was a flag-raising event at Royal Tarlair Golf Club attended by Mr Simpson, Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid and Councillor Richard Menard.

It was also hoisted at The Shore Inn in Portsoy, Whitehills, Fordyce, Macduff war memorial and Drummuir Castle.

In the coming weeks it is due to be raised at Banff Castle, Buckie Square, Cabrach, Keith Square, Glenlivet Village Hall, Dufftown, Tomintoul, Ballindalloch Castle and Glenfarclas Distillery.

Lord-Lieutenant of Banffshire Andrew Simpson said: "Congratulations to all who contributed designs for the Banffshire flag competition, but particularly to Ellie from Portessie Primary School.

"Her entry was recognised by the public vote as capturing some of the key features from across the historic county.

"Thank you to all who attended the launch on Castle Hill, Cullen, not least the Buckie and District Pipe Band.

"It has been great seeing the new Banffshire flag already flying in several locations.

"I am sure that, along with other flags, it will prove to be an asset in celebrating our local identity."

Mr Tibbetts worked to ensure compliance with heraldic traditions.

He said: "This is always a very special moment not just for your community of Banffshire but for the nation, as well.

"We're a nation that's a patchwork of identities and to keep that identity itself we need to preserve and promote that patchwork.

"Your flag is a way of doing that. What I'm delighted about, from a national perspective, is that not only do you get a symbol of identity that you're able to fly from now on, but this flag does not replace any other flags you may be wanting to fly. This is something you can fly alongside whatever you like.

"This one flag is a symbol of identity and that's to be treasured. When you fly this flag alongside one of your own ones that is a message of relationship, and that is rare."

The competition and development of the Banffshire flag has been sponsored and supported by Gray Composting Services, Walker’s Shortbread, Highland News and Media and The Seafield Arms, Cullen.

The flag will be available for use by anyone either living in, or with connections to, Banffshire. Digital copies will be available for downloading from the Lord-Lieutenant of Banffshire website.

Saturday also saw a new flag for Moray unveiled which took place in Elgin. There were also simultaneous flag-raising events in Forres (Tolbooth), Lossiemouth (Station Park), Fochabers (Milne's Primary) and Rothes (Glen Grant Distillery).

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