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Lord Bath helps hoist county flag
THE creator of a county flag for Wiltshire hoisted it for the first time at the weekend and is now hoping the people of the county will get behind him in adopting it as their own.
Flag fan Mike Prior, 61, got off to a good start on Sunday when Lord Bath and Trowbridge mayor Tom James raised the flag in the garden of his Ashton Street home.
Mr Prior, who runs Bath Midway Litho Ltd in Duke Street, created the flag with the help of his daughter, graphic designer Helen Pocock. He said: "The weekend was excellent. Lord Bath and Tom James raised it together and just as it reached the top of the flag pole there was a gust of wind and it unfurled itself."
Mr Prior has permission to fly the flag in his garden but as for getting it accepted as a county flag, along the lines of those wholeheartedly embraced in Devon and Cornwall, he needs the support of residents.
"The district council has given me permission to fly it but that's as far as they or anyone else can go.
"There is no method or authority to get it accepted as the county flag of Wiltshire, that is all done by public acceptance."
The white colouring in the flag is to represent peace, while the green can mean joy, hope or safety. A circle of six rocks is also featured in the centre of the flag, representing both the stone circles of Avebury and Stonehenge and the six counties on to which Wiltshire borders.
The focal point of the flag is an image of the Great Bustard, which was reintroduced onto Salisbury Plain in 2004 after becoming extinct in the UK, when birds were brought over from Saratov, Russia.
Mr Prior has attracted the interest of many important figures in the county, including the Duchess of Cornwall, Lord Lieutenant John Bush, as well as Lord Bath.
Lord Bath said: "The green and white undulation as well as the Great Bustard emblem seem most appropriate."
Prince Charles, whose wife has a country home in Reybridge near Lacock, has written to Mr Prior saying he was interested to hear about the project and asked to be kept informed of its progress.
Mr Prior has ordered 500 copies of the flag to be made. For more information call (01225) 777767 or email