El diario Daily Echo propone la creación de un bandera para el condado inglés de Hampshire.
Help design a flag for Hampshire
By Peter Law
THEY instil pride, are a symbol of identity and are flown at sports events and in gardens across Britain. Yet many people living in Hampshire would be surprised to learn the county does not have its own flag.
Today, the Daily Echo is inviting creative residents to come up with their own design for a new flag of Hampshire that could be adopted by the county.
It would be a people's flag that could be flown anytime and anywhere and chosen by a public vote.
The region's tourism experts last night said a new flag would help boost the county's national and international profile.
The Flag Institute - a national body which registers official flags - has given its support to the plan and confirmed Hampshire does not have its own flag.
Flag competitions are a new phenomenon and many of our neighbouring counties have recently unfurled a new flag or are in the midst of selecting one.
Graham Bartram, chief vexillologist at the Flag Registry, said: "A lot of the southern counties now have their own flags so it would seem Hampshire really needs to pull its finger out.
"County flags are a reasonably new concept and the only reason Hampshire doesn't have one is because they haven't selected one."
The Dorset public has until next month to vote for its favourite flag from a shortlist of four selected following a competition.
The Isle of Wight recently launched a search for a flag, while Wiltshire last year adopted a green and white flag with a great bustard.
Devon, Gloucestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire have all chosen new flags in the past six years in popular votes.
They are now flown proudly flown at sports events, county celebrations, outside town halls and feature on souvenirs such as bumper stickers, badges and magnets.
Tourism South East's head of marketing Karen Roebuck welcomed the call for a flag of Hampshire. "It is sometimes difficult to differentiate the counties in South East England," she said.
"A county flag could support a local identity incorporating the multi facets of the county crossing sport, the arts, heritage, education and local food.
"A flag could reinforce a sense of identity which gives more of a hook to encourage the visitor both local and from further afield."
Mr Bartram said flags could help give a county a sense of identity that has been eroded with the formation of unitary authorities such as Southampton and Portsmouth city councils.
"People want a more local sense of identity. The new county flags are certainly being used for tourism and are another way of representing the area," he said.
Hampshire County Council has two flags, however they represent the council and therefore can only be used by them.
In 1992, a red and yellow design based on the county's coat of arms was unveiled to mark the county's centenary. The flag is flown on formal occasions.
A blue flag based on the council's corporate logo has been used since 2002 and is flown at the council's offices daily.
Any new flag of Hampshire would have to be unique in Britain, not subject to copyright and selected by a public vote or approved by the county council.
Mr Bartram said the key to a good flag was that it had a simple design, was representative of the region and adopted by its people.
"Council flags are basically banners with a coat of arms and the problem is that if you asked local children to draw the coat of arms they wouldn't be able to and that is not what we want for a flag."
Mr Batram said one of the challenges when designing a flag was creating something truly representative of the whole county.
"I wouldn't recommend using the crescent and star of Portsmouth, or the three roses of Southampton - maybe you need to use red, white and blue as that represents both cities. It's a matter of coming up with something for the entire county."