County Durham’s proud cultural heritage will be celebrated as residents cast their votes on a new flag to represent the area.
The county is the only area of the North East without a flag, according to the Flag Institute.
Now, a campaign by rambler Andy Strangeway, who is from Yorkshire but has taken to walking all over the UK, is aiming to change that. He has worked with the Mayor and Chairwoman of Durham County Council Pauline Charlton to select a shortlist of six flags. An array of Palatinate blue, purple and yellow feature heavily, representing Durham’s coat of arms and the university’s colour, as does the cross of St Cuthbert.
Regarded as the patron saint of northern England, the body of the Anglo Saxon monk, who was also elected as Bishop of Hexham, lies in Durham Cathedral.
The county has a rich industrial heritage in coal mining. One of the designs sees black diamonds dotted on St Cuthbert’s cross while another has the background of a colliery wheel to mark how mining has shaped the county’s economy and culture.
Durham Cathedral’s Sanctuary Knocker is placed at the centre of one entry. A big pull for history tourists, those who ‘committed a great offence’ in the Middle Ages such as murder in self-defence or fleeing from prison could rap the knocker and be granted 37 days sanctuary at the cathedral.
Another of the candidates mirrors the gold and purple striped banner the Venerable Bede is said to have hung over the tomb of St Oswald.
The closing date for voting is Sunday, October 20. The following day the winning design will be registered in the Flag Institute’s UK Flag Registry.
Andy, who has been instrumental in creating flags for the historic East Riding, North Riding and West Riding of his native Yorkshire, said: “It is about cultural heritage. It is very important that we preserve and celebrate cultural heritage and that is what this competition is about.
“I would like to thank everyone who entered a design, the judges who selected the six finalists and also the Flag Institute for their guidance and assistance.”
See all the designs and cast your vote at andystrangeway.wordpress.com/county-durham-flag/