Tiree will keep the flag flying

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Tiree has narrowly missed out on being the proud owner of a world champion flag.

The island’s flag was pipped at the flag pole by the village of Penkhull in Stoke-on-Trent.

Tiree made it to the final of the Flag Institute’s World Series of Flags 2020 competition on Twitter after fending off competitors including Denver in the US and Vincennes in France.

The winner of this year’s contest was announced on September 16 after Penkhull scraped home with 51 per cent of the vote.

The Flag Institute tweeted: ‘The biggest poll we’ve ever run and what a match. Penkhull took a big lead at the start, but Tiree – tournament dark horses – fought for every per cent until they were in the lead overnight. A late flourish with three hours to go saw Penkhull edge ahead and take the win. An incredible effort by both communities, with two great flags. Commiserations to a heartbroken Tiree despite the valiant efforts of so many Tirisdeach.’

Another post commenting on Tiree’s efforts said: ‘Not bad for a tiny island off Scotland with only 650 folk living there but a nation who adores it behind them.’

Despite the disappointment, the creator of Tiree’s flag, Donald Cameron, who was born and brought up on Tiree and now works as a senior strategist for a London advertising agency, said the island would ‘keep the flag flying’.

A poll for Tiree Community Council in 2016 found a majority of islanders wanted a flag, so a committee ran a competition to design one.

Donald’s top design used stalks of barley, referring to the island’s reputation as Tìr an Eòrna, the island of barley, and the most fertile of the Hebrides, to create a yellow circle, symbolising the sunshine isle.

Donald said: ‘It’s a nice, simple, strong idea and it won compliments from people and big numbers of votes for such a wee island. Support came not just from islanders but even people who have never been to Tiree. People who just like flags and design were all drawn to it.

‘When I went to bed on the Tuesday night the poll was 50/50, then it was to our favour but Penkhull turned it round in the last moments.

‘It’s all just a bit of fun and it’s been great exposure for Tiree. We’ll keep our flag flying with great pride.’