What’s it to be, then? A bull? Apples? Both? And something else as well, maybe?
The short list for the Herefordshire flag competition is revealed today. A grand total of 692 entries – the most ever received for any UK community – has been whittled down to five. And the time has come for the people of Herefordshire to make the final decision.
Vote online at: www. the-shire.co.uk/herefordshireflag
The polls will be open until the end of September and the voters’ verdict will be announced – and the winning flag hoisted – at a ceremony in Hereford on November 2. It will then be available for purchase and can be flown anywhere.
The flags that have reached the final five emphasise the county’s most distinctive symbols. Four of the five show apples; three have a bull’s head; two include the River Wye.
Two depict the county’s red soil. One has a design based on the county’s black-and-white houses. Another has hops. Yet another has rolling hills and a background that recalls ripening hay.
“Had we been making the choice alone, I’m sure every member of the judging panel would have come up with a different short list,” said David Marshall, chairman of the Herefordshire Flag Committee. “There were many terrific designs that didn’t make it. But I think this selection gives people an excellent choice. Whichever wins, it will be a fine ambassador for the county.”
Of England’s 39 historic counties, only Herefordshire and Leicestershire do not now have a registered flag. Many other regions, cities and communities also have flags, including the Herefordshire village of Marden which made its own selection this summer.
The Flag Institute, the UK’s registration body, has given provisional approval to all Herefordshire’s proposed designs and is expected to ratify the decision rapidly after the choice is announced.
Unlike any other ballots that may or may not take place this autumn, everyone aged five and upwards is allowed to take part – though under-16s’ votes must be countersigned by a parent, guardian or teacher.