The community of Barra is delighted to confirm that the Barra flag has been granted official recognition from the Lyon Court.
The distinctive green and white Scandinavian-style flag has been widely used by the community for decades – flying across the island and appearing on local produce. However, until now, it has had no legal recognition.
A community meeting was held in Barra by Alasdair Allan MSP and Philip Tibbetts, Communities Vexillologist of the Flag Institute, last December to explore the possibility of a petition being submitted to the Lyon Court.
This initiative was championed locally by Dolina Manford, Chair of Northbay Community Council, with the support of the island’s other Community Council. Funding was kindly provided by local community charity Barra and Vatersay Voluntary Action.
The Court of the Lord Lyon, the legal authority on heraldry in Scotland, has the power to authorise community flags and ensure that only one community can use any one design.
An official unveiling will be held in summer.
Northbay Community Councillor Dolina Manford commented: “I am very happy to see that the Barra flag has now received official recognition from the Lord Lyon.
“It has been a long process but now the green and white Nordic cross that has been used in Barra for a number of years is officially registered at the Lord Lyon.”
Alasdair Allan MSP commented: “I am delighted that Barra’s flag now has legal recognition and protection.
“When I originally held an exploratory meeting on this subject it was felt that recognition of the flag would help to boost the island’s marketing efforts as well as celebrate its unique identity.
“I would like to thank Dolina for her efforts in driving this forward and I look forward to seeing some of the benefits this will bring.”
Philip Tibbetts of the Flag Institute commented: “It is wonderful to see the Barra flag achieve official recognition with the Lyon Court, having been used so extensively over the years, joining the likes of Caithness and even the Saltire itself.
“In this past year Barra has shown the importance that a flag can have for its community - not only as a celebration but also as a symbol to rally around.
“As such it has been both an honour and humbling to have assisted Barra since I was first invited to the island last year. I am sure it will serve as a powerful example to the many other communities thinking of developing their own flag to promote their own identity and the patchwork of national heritage.”
Angus MacNeil MP commented: “I’m very pleased that the Barra Isles flag has been approved, with the Nordic cross showing not just the ancestry of the people but the places names of Barra, and the green representing the green of the Barra Isles. This is a fantastic achievement by all those involved.”
Eoin MacNeil of Voluntary Action Barra and Vatersay commented: ”We were very pleased to able to support the aspirations of our community and community councils.
“The flag also endorses our unique sense of identity, heritage and culture. We look forward to it flying high over the many events taking place in the coming years.”