More than 100 people turned up to Northampton town centre yesterday to see the unveiling of Northamptonshire’s first official county flag.
It was flown for the first time by Lord Lieutenant, Peter Laing, outside Northampton’s County Hall yesterday morning and was given a special blessing by Father David McConkey of All Saints church.
The new Northamptonshire county flag, featuring a red rose motif set on a yellow cross with a red background, was chosen out of four possible designs by a public vote.
Organiser of the two-and-a-half-year project, Johnnie Amos, president of the Commonwealth Flag Project, said the idea to create a unique flag first came about when the county’s former Lord Lieutenant, Juliet Townsend, was invited to meet the Queen during her diamond jubilee visit to Burghley House.
He said: “Lord Lieutenants are supposed to bring their flags when they meet the Queen but when Juliet phoned me to ask what our flag was, I realised that we have no official county flag. The county council has one of their own but that can only be used by them.
“So we made a public appeal online for people to come up with designs and we had ideas from people as far away as Australia who used to live in the county. One pupil from St. Peter’s Independent School in Blackthorn gave us the idea of creating a unique Northamptonshire rose.
“We then passed them all on to The Flag Institute who put them together according to correct flag etiquette and rules and they returned with the four designs.”
The cross shape on the flag is said to symbolise the county as a crossroads for the country, while the red and yellow colours are inspired by the county cricket team and the black border represents Northamptonshire’s famous leather industry.
So far, 22 of the flags have been produced and there will be one at the residence of every town mayor in the county.
It will now be the official flag to represent the county at national and international events.
Mr Amos, from Flore, said: “I have been pleasantly surprised by the welcome the new flag has been given by the people of Northamptonshire. People are proud to have their own symbol and it shows that they believe in our county.
“The whole project was funded by private donations and everyone who has given their time and efforts to support us has been absolutely fantastic.”