FIVE-year-olds are to get the vote when Herefordshire chooses its flag later this year.

The Herefordshire Flag Committee today announced plans for the competition to design a flag - and said that, when people of the county pick the winner in the summer, everyone from five and up will be able to have their say.

"Children are the future of Herefordshire and it's going to be their flag more than anyone's," said committee chairman David Marshall.

"We want them to take part in the competition and we want them to help pick the winner."

"This is about creating a simple, striking image that everyone can recognise and understand," he added. "So their view is particularly important. We hope that teachers and parents will take the chance to tell children about where they live and why it's such a terrific place.

"But this is not just for the young. We want everyone's ideas. The young, the old and the in-between."

So far 36 of England's 39 historic counties have their own official flag following local initiatives across the country over the past few years.

Now Herefordshire is joining in. Last month the flag movement was praised by communities minister Jake Berry. “Our historic counties are part of the fabric of British society that has been woven into our national story since Saxon times," he said.

Organisers say the flag will help raise the profile of the county - and enable its people to express their own pride in living here.

Two versions of a Herefordshire flag have been available for sale online, but they have no official status. Herefordshire Council also has a flag but it can only be flown by others with permission.

The winning flag in this competition will be registered by the Flag Institute and available for use by anyone. It is also expected to be flown from council buildings and other landmarks.

Prospective flag-designers will be able to enter the competition from March 1 and the closing date will be April 15. Anyone (wherever they live) can enter, free of charge, as many times as they like.

An assessment panel will then choose a short-list of possibles from which voters can choose. The actual vote will be restricted to people with an address in Herefordshire and children's ballots will have to be authenticated by a responsible adult.

Voting is expected to take place during June and July with the winning flag being hoisted at a ceremony in Hereford later in the year.

Organisers emphasise that the contest is not primarily intended as a test of artistic skill.

"We very much want experienced artists and designers to be part of this. The aim is to find the most striking, appropriate and beautiful image," said Leoni Linton of Ignite, the community activity group administering the competition.

"But maybe the most imaginative idea will come from someone who has hardly even held a crayon. The panel won't turn down something brilliant just because it's a bit smudgy."

Ignite will be running workshops across the county in March and April to encourage entries.

The Flag Committee is an offshoot of the Herefordshire Cultural Partnership which ran Hereford's gallant attempt to become UK City of Culture 2021.

The committee is working in co-operation with Herefordshire Council and the Flag Institute, the national body which maintains the UK's register of flags.

The Institute's communities officer, Philip Tibbetts, will sit with the panel to advise whether entries meet the technical criteria for registration. Crucial factors include whether the flag can be recognised whether or not the wind is blowing - and whether it is simple enough to be drawn from memory by a child.

Full details of the competition can be downloaded from

Anyone with queries can email