Sunday, 29 June 2008

The contest end date is over - but does it matter?

So, we've reached the final date - the 27th - no more submissions to 'find a flag for Dorset 2008'. So we'll be getting a flag soon - get this voting slips ready! But - does this matter?

Steve Coombs has these comments on the contest to find a Dorset flag:

"The Dorset County Council could have done a lot worse in deciding how to deal with the flag question in which it has now chosen to get involved.

However it is essential to realise that there is no authority assigned to to the council to intervene at all. It has no greater say in the matter than any other organisation, or indeed any individual.

The council can certainly not make any flag official. Official flags are the result of a decision of central government, in practice (unless the flags are for the armed forces) after it has consulted the College of Arms.

Many Dorset people have already decided to use the white cross edged in red on a golden field, and there is no reason on earth why they should not continue to do so, whatever the outcome of the vote. The vote will not decide the issue; only the actual practice of ordinary people can do that."

Steve, as always has made some very valid points. A winner of this contest will be endorsed by the DCC - not made official and it will be no more official than any other Dorset flags out there. It may have won a public vote and rubber-stamped by DCC, but what does that matter in terms of officialdom? Nothing.

People are asking our stance if we should lose this or even if we don't make the final four.

Well, if we don't make the final four - I will consider this a travesty. It is entirely due to our efforts that this scenario exists. Our flag follows all the first rule of heraldry(rule of tincture) and to the letter - the guidelines of the Flag Institute. If we aren't part of the final four - I will ignore this contest completely and won't vote. I won't recognise any winner.

If we are in the final four and lose, what does this mean? We were outvoted - but the winner still isn't the official flag of Dorset - it is a popularly voted flag and endorsed by an organisation - no more official that ours. The same would apply if we won, but the difference is, the Dorset Cross is already out there - flying in the breeze. Who else can say that?

New pictures from Stonehenge and Glastonbury 2008

New photos have been sent in of the Dorset Cross at Stonehenge and Glastonbury.

- The Dorset Grove blessed the flag at Stonehenge - find those photos here.
- Alfie Tyson Brown(son of the great Chris Brown!) sent in this photo from Glastonbury 2008.

Keep sending them in folks!

Friday, 27 June 2008

Article at Bridport Radio

Serious campaigning for a Dorset Flag began in January this year, a few months after John Peake of DCC said that the council had no authority to create a flag because of the Unitary Status of Poole and Bournemouth.

The Dorset Cross, has a golden field - linked to ancient Wessex (golden dragon), Golden Cap and Gold Hill and a white cross outlined in red. All three colours are found in the arms of DCC. If the flag was to be named after a saint - Dorset's own St Wite who rests at Whitchurch Canonicorum would be desired above all others as she is thought to have been a local.

The flag is going from strength to strength with hundreds of flags, badges and stickers having been sold to the Dorset public. Wimborne Town Council recently adopted it and it is to be blessed at Stonehenge this Saturday(27th June) by Dorset Grove.

Despite this, John Peake announced a county wide 'competition' for a new flag of Dorset, in an apparent u-turn on their previous position(citing us as 'having got them going'). That contest ends tonight(27th June '08) at midnight. A panel of judges (The High Sheriff, Lord Lieutenant, Two members of the youth parliament, the Dorset Echo editior and chaired by the Flag Institute's chief vexillologist(flag expert)) will shortlist four entries that will be voted on by the Dorset public.

The Dorset Cross has been entered into this competition. In the event we lose, it's possible we will carry on regardless as DCC does not have the power to authorise an official flag. Only the College of Arms and the Queen can do that.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Meridian Piece on ITV today

Meridian TV interviewed me on Tuesday about the whole thing. They put out three articles today - each one was different in a small or large way. Below is the second one. If you head to the 'TV Appearances' section of the website, you can compare and contrast!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Dorset Cross to be blessed at Stonehenge

Ian Temple, the Arch Druid of the Dorset Grove sent this to us today:

"We will be holding out Solstice Ritual at Stonehenge at Midday.we will be flying the Dorset flag there and doing a blessing for it, hopefully the press will pick it up, but if not we well send you the photos."

We at the Dorset Cross are incredibly honoured by this gesture and thank Dorset Grove for this. The Dorset Cross is rapidly becoming truely a flag for all faiths.

BREAKING NEWS : Wimborne Town Council adopts Dorset Cross

21:14 - Wimborne Town Council have voted to adopt the Dorset Cross as the flag of Dorset and will challenge Dorset County Council's competition, citing it to be a waste of time and money.
Left: Cllr Robin Cook, Mayor of Wimborne Minster Town Council
Right: Cllr. Anthony Oliver MBE, Immediate past Mayor of Wimborne, Chairman of Wimborne In Bloom, Press Officer St Cuthberga’s Minster Church of Wimborne.

In the Council chamber on occasion of Cllr Oliver MBE donating a Dorset Cross (St Wite’s) Flag to Cllr Robin Cook, Mayor of Wimborne Minster Town Council

WATCH MERIDIAN NEWS TOMORROW - 25/6/08 - 6pm-6.30pm
I am interviewed about the flag, the county council's involvement and my thoughts!

More words from Cllr Richard Booth of Wimborne:
"Having browsed the Dorset Flag website, I must commend you on putting together a very convincing argument for the adoption of the Dorset Cross as the flag of Dorset. I will do my best to spread awareness of the website, and to encourage others to sponsor such an endeavour. As you say, our flag must be both distinctive and symbolic - a representation of our pride in being residents of Dorset.
I wish you the best of luck."

Thursday, 19 June 2008

DCC finally releases Press Release

This appeared on the DCC website yesterday:

"18/06/08: Last chance to join the search for a Dorset flag
Creative Dorset people have just a few more days to enter their design ideas for a flag for the county.

Local newspapers have joined with Dorset County Council to publicise the search for a flag which can represent the county. Entries have already been sent in but there's still time to send your idea before the competition closes on 27 June.

Council Chairman John Peake said: "Over the years the idea of a flag has surfaced several times. Recent work by a group promoting a flag called the Dorset Cross has shown that there is a lot of support for the idea.

"Through local newspapers I asked residents to submit their designs and we now have numerous possibilities. You now have until the end of June to send in any last minute entries then the process to choose one will begin."

A panel chaired by Graham Bartram, Chief Vexillologist (flag expert) at the Flag Institute, will look at all the entries using a list of agreed criteria to shortlist four. Local people will then have the chance to vote for their favourite.

Mr Bartram, who has advised several counties on choosing a flag design, said: "Simplicity is the key. A good flag should be simple enough that a child could draw it. It should not include too many colours and should have a historical significance for the county it represents."

Mr Bartram has helped draw up the criteria on which judging will be based. He will be joined on the judging panel by Dorset's Lord Lieutenant Mrs Anthony Pitt-Rivers, High Sheriff John Raymond, Dorset's two Members of Youth Parliament Anna Barker and Omar Sharif and Dorset Echo editor David Murdock.

Mr Peake added: "I am delighted to see so much interest in this competition. It shows that there is a great deal of pride in the county."

The conditions of the competition are available at the right hand side (PDF). All designs which have already been submitted through local newspapers will automatically be entered into the shortlisting. Any further entries should be sent c/o Cllr John Peake."

I have read through the terms and conditions.

- Anyone in Dorset, Bournemoutn and Poole can enter until next Friday 27th at midnight. One entry per person.
- Four entries will be selected by the panel and these will be published
- Public will vote on favourite flag - by post or 'drop points'.
- There will be a prize draw of £50 for those that enter.

Well, this is great, but a shame now that we have sold in the region of 220 flags across the county and are still getting exposure from the likes of the Western Daily Press. Saying that - people now have until next Friday to get an entry in - it's not long is it?

So there'll be a vote. Do I trust the Dorset people not to do the obvious and vote green and blue? All depends on the 4 selected shortlisted I suppose. I'm very glad Graham Bartram is aboard - it's a shame that his guidelines didn't come out two months ago.

I feel that the panel is fair. They are high ranking officials of Dorset.

Thoughts anyone?

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

New Article in Western Daily Press

Full Article



08:00 - 18 June 2008

It may be the last county in the West to champion its own flag, but campaigners for the Dorset Cross are certainly making up for lost time in ensuring their gold flag is flown in every town and village in the county.

They have already sold out of the first 220 flags and are now awaiting a delivery of another 1,000.The Dorset Cross has already been flown from churches and pubs across the county and was even taken to Wembley by the Wimborne Town Youth Football team when they watched an England game at the new stadium.

Campaigner Dave White, from Dorchester, said: "Dorset has got it all, lovely countryside, the sea and coast. It's like England in one little county. People, rightly so, are very proud of Dorset.

"Since devolution, the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish are getting more proud of where they come from. In Devon and Cornwall, everywhere you go, you see the flags.

"It's good on the unity front to hold on to something which says 'we are from here'. People get quite excited about that."

The flag's design draws upon the county's history. The colours used are found in the Dorset County Council and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service Arms. The gold also relates to the Jurassic Coast beauty spot, Golden Cap, and the famous Shaftesbury street, Gold Hill.

Jason Saber, of the national Flag Institute has commended the flag as simple yet symbolic and distinctive.

Designer Stephen Coombs was keen to make it stand out from the flags of neighbouring counties, many of which feature the colour green.

Last summer, Wiltshire launched its own green and white striped flag featuring a great bustard and earlier this year Gloucestershire joined in with another green, blue and white flag - just slightly different to the Devon flag adopted in 2003.

Somerset's flag, which features a red dragon, can be seen flying across the county and Cornwall's striking black and white cross has become a symbol for those wanting independence.

But supporters say the Dorset Cross is more about unity and identity, rather than the desire for independence.

The new flag has even got a special launch party in the shape of Endorse-it In-Dorset festival, which celebrates all that is great about the county.

The festival, which takes place in Sixpenny Handley, near Shaftesbury, hosts its own Dorset Cultural Highlight of the Year award, for which the new flag is a front runner. Festival flyers feature cartoons of the band erecting the flag in the style of Rosenthal's famous World War II image. Organisers and local musicians Pronghorn, who were also key sponsors of the campaign, will champion the flag at the three-day festival in August.

The bid has attracted attention from far and wide, from Sherborne in the north of the county to Bridport in the south and even from the former Hampshire town of Bournemouth.

A Facebook group called "Support the Dorset Flag" has attracted more than 100 members.

It was a hot topic of conversation among visitors to last weekend's Wimborne Folk Festival.

Wimborne Town Crier Chris Brown said: "There's lots about Dorset we want to celebrate. We've got the Olympics coming here in 2012 and it was here that the trade union movement was born. The flag is needed to show the world what Dorset means to people who live here. Our flag stands out from all the others and will put Dorset on the map."

For more information please visit .

Friday, 13 June 2008

Facebook member?

If you're on Facebook, then you should join the group started by new flag ultra-supporter Charley Riggs.

"Support the Dorset Flag - Bold Bright and very English" has already gained near 100 members in the last week. Charley has also created a Facebook profile for 'Dorset Cross' - add it as your friend:

And Bournemouth Borough Council - if you're listening....Charley was born in Bournemouth, Hampshire. Smoke that.

Here's raising a glass(and a flag) to you Charley!

BTW - We'll be at Wimborne Folk Festival this Sunday at the Mayor's table - come along to say hello or buy a flag, or both!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

New article in Dorset Echo

IDEAS for a new flag for Dorset have been snubbed by councils in the east of the county.

Bournemouth Borough Council has cited their historic links with Hampshire while Poole and Christchurch have also decided not to be involved at this stage.

Dorchester's Dave White, who launched the project with his own design, still hopes the flag will go ahead.

He said: "I'm very disappointed with Bournemouth Borough Council's response considering the town has now been part of Dorset for many years.

"Hankering after a past life with Hampshire certainly is not a particularly good excuse. If the people of Bournemouth choose to adopt the flag, then who are the council to stop them?"

Mr White contacted all three councils after Dorset County Council chairman John Peake stressed that discussions would have to involve Bournemouth and Poole.

Chief executive of Bournemouth Borough Council Pam Donnellan confirmed their decision. She said: "We already have strong historic links with both Hampshire to the east and Dorset to the west and we wish Dorset every success in this new initiative."

The Echo invited readers to send in their designs and they were forwarded on to the county council after Coun Peake said they were happy to move the project forward.

A Borough of Poole spokesman also referred to historical issues. He said: "The borough has a rich history dating back hundreds of years and was subject to a Royal Charter in 1568 which saw it named the county of the town of Poole and, therefore, separate from the county of Dorset.

"The council has no objections to the campaign for a Dorset flag however we feel that this issue is best pursued by our colleagues at Dorset County Council."

Sally Northeast, public relations manager at Dorset County Council, confirmed chief executive David Jenkins had spoken to both Bournemouth and Poole's councils and that they were not interested at the moment.

She said: "The issue for them is to do with the fact that they have quite a strong town identity from a tourism point of view. If the flag goes into production who knows what will happen."

John Gale, 71, will be flying Mr White's design at this year's West Dorset Vintage Stationary Engine and Tractors Club rally and thinks everyone in Dorset should support it.

He said: "Everybody should get together as it doesn't matter where you are in the county."

Monday, 2 June 2008

Contest is not over?

Sally Northeast of DCC sent me an email tonight with some interesting information. I will not reproduce here, but the main points are:
  1. She wasn't aware that Dorset Echo had ended submissions and didn't advise this.
  2. That the council will certainly not choose a winning entry.
  3. Further discussions will take place with local media to tie-up loose ends.
  4. A proposed panel will be asked for their views on criteria for a flag.
  5. It appears that some sort of public vote will still take place or this is still their intention.

Thanks for clearing that up Sally. I think I still feel a little in the dark though!

I'd quite like to know who the proposed panel is and what qualifies them to create criteria?