The new Aberdeenshire County flag was revealed at a special dedication ceremony held at The National Trust for Scotland’s Castle Fraser, Sauchen, Aberdeenshire, with invited guests and a large crowd gathered to witness the historic occasion. The chosen flag was based on the original designs of pupils from Newtonhill School, Stonehaven, and Elrick School, Westhill.
An important part in local identity
Accompanied by the Drums & Pipes of The Gordon Highlanders Association and an honour guard of Lonach Highlanders, the children presented the flag to The Lord-Lieutenant, Sandy Manson, at the castle doors. Following a dedication, the new Aberdeenshire flag was taken to the top of the castle tower and raised by the Lord-Lieutenant. Lone Piper, David Fraser, from The Gordon Highlanders Association Pipe Band played the famous march, Back o’ Bennachie and the assembled crowd gave a resounding ‘Three Cheers’.
Mr Sandy Manson, The Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, said: “It is wonderful to see this splendid County flag now unveiled for all to see. For the children from two different local schools to produce such similar designs that were then brought together in the flag you see today, was remarkable. It’s clear to see why their design triumphed over hundreds of others from all ages and corners of the world: a bold flag that heralds our past and signals a confident future. Judging over 800 global entries by the panel was certainly not easy. The five designs chosen for the shortlist went to a public vote, encompassing the many traditions and characteristics we associate with our beautiful and historic county. My congratulations to all the pupils involved in so creatively designing the winning flag. I hope all of Aberdeenshire will be very proud as our new flag flies over the county, playing an important part in our local identity.”
Scotland’s castle country
The pupils described their winning design, “Aberdeenshire is Scotland’s ‘castle country’ but also the strong royal association referenced by the crown. A quarter of Scotland’s arable land is in Aberdeenshire, with the gold representing the barley and the whisky that it makes, and the purple symbolises the heather of our mountains.” The project was initiated in March 2022, when the Lord-Lieutenant, Mr Sandy Manson, discovered through dialogue with the Lord Lyon’s office that while Aberdeenshire had a long-standing coat of arms, it did not have a county flag as was the case with most counties in Scotland.
Two Deputy Lieutenants, Mrs Jean Haslam and the late Mrs Miranda McHardy took this historic project forward, running an open competition to design a flag for Aberdeenshire. Workshops were run by Philip Tibbetts (Lyon Court Vexillologist for Scotland) during the first week in September 2022 in schools across the county. With the help of the Lord Lyon and Mr Tibbetts, a judging panel examined over 820 entries submitted in October, the largest ever response to a flag competition in Scotland. A short-list of five designs was selected that went to a public vote, with 4,208 votes cast.