HEREFORDSHIRE could join nearly all of England’s historic counties by getting its own flag- and people in the county will have their say on its design.

The county is one of three of England’s 39 counties not to have its own flag.

Herefordshire currently has an unofficial flag. It can be seen dotted around the county, but cannot be used for formal purposes.

Matthew Engel, a writer who helped kickstart the process in Herefordshire said: “It’s a perfectly decent and well-designed flag and maybe it’s the right answer. But we think the community itself should be the judge of that. This is an opportunity for an outburst of creativity that can involve anyone.

“It would be great if the winning flag came from a local artist or an eight-year-old in an art class. If the concept is right it does not even require any artistic skill. We hope to be able to help people turn good ideas into reality.”

A competition for the best flag design will be launched next year. The final details are unconfirmed but it is thought that a panel of judges will draw up a short list and then Herefordians can vote online for their favourite.

The process is being overseen by the Herefordshire Cultural Partnership and is backed by Councillor Brian Wilcox, chairman of Herefordshire Council, but the council will not be directly involved.

A sub-committee from the Partnership is now working on the plans.

Engel was inspired to get Herefordshire its own flag when, after seeing a map of England filled with county flags, there was a grey space where Herefordshire should be.

He explained: “I thought it was a bit pathetic for Herefordshire, where we have so much to be proud of, to be just a grey space. A flag is a very useful symbol to help everyone understand that they are somewhere special.

“I know some people are a bit wary of national flags because they can sometimes be divisive. But this has nothing to do with politics. We are not going to invade Shropshire.

“It’s something that can be flown everywhere- houses, schools, pubs, towns, villages- to express our delight at living in this wonderful county.”

Herefordshire’s search for its own flag has the support of Phillip Tibbetts, the communities’ specialist at the Flag Institute, the body in charge of registration who will advise the sub-committee on how the future flag can meet the Institute’s requirements.

Organisers are now keen to hear from anyone who wants to support the competition or potential entrants.

To get involved, email: