ON June 23 everyone at the Marden Church and Community Fete had the opportunity to vote for the Marden Flag.

And after many months' activity by the organiser, the small team of local judge-selectors, aided and abetted by the Flag Institute's communities vexillologist Philip Tibbets, the Marden flag was finally chosen, and submitted for registration.

The designs shortlist for voting had been professionally manipulated and coloured to ensure a common standard of best practice in flag design and production and to ensure that voters could see exactly what they would get.

By a wide margin, the public vote's result was that Flag D became the winning design. The flag's colours of green and gold symbolise hope and kingship. The upper, celestial crown represents St Ethelbert, brutally murdered by decapitation - the sword - by orders of King Offa, represented by the lower, Saxon crown. The wavy line indicates the River Lugg at Marden into which Ethelbert's mutilated body was thrown.

When available, this flag may be flown freely by anyone: at home, it will remind all of the hope and redemption implicit in the Ethelbert story, of the rich history of the area, and the many generations of peoples who have lived in and around Marden before and since those events of more than 1300 years ago. For those abroad and away, the flag will be a reminder of home. This winning design is by Mrs Liz Roberts, of Marden.

In addition to the main competition, judges' awards for the best of under 16 years, under 60s and over 60s entrants were made separately.

Cash prizes for the three classes are being distributed as follows. Under 16s: First, Amy Chapman, a Marden Brownie; Second, Edward Thomas, grandson of Marden residents; Third, Edwin Sharman, grandson of Marden residents. Under 60s: First, Kate Roberts, daughter of Marden residents; Second, Mrs Cheryl Skyrme, Marden Chiropody. Over 60s: First, Mrs Christine Hemming, Second, Mrs Liz Roberts, Third, Mrs Christine Hemming. Mrs Hemming is a well-known former teacher at the then Marden Primary School and a member of Marden History Society.

A flag raising ceremony is being planned to take place later in the year. By then, voting for the Herefordshire Flag will have taken place and Marden will become the first village and parish in Herefordshire to be able to fly its own official flag with those of the county, the region, the country and the UK.

The organiser and judges would once again like to record many thanks to the competition's generous sponsors.