Whitehall to fly Yorkshire flag – but not town hall

Eric Pickles
Eric Pickles
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THE flag of the East Riding of Yorkshire will be on show in the capital tomorrow – but not above the council offices that carry its name.

East Riding Council will not fly the flag as the first East Riding Day is marked but Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has ensured it will be displayed outside his department’s offices in central London.

The flag was designed by father and son Trevor and Thomas Appleton, from Kirkburn, following a competition organised by Pocklington decorator Andy Strangeway who was also behind the creation of a North Riding flag.

The first North Riding Day was celebrated yesterday and, in sharp contrast to the approach taken in the East, North Yorkshire County Council hosted a civic lunch at County Hall in Northallerton while the flag flew outside.

Mr Strangeway said he believed East Riding Council’s decision might have been influenced by the choice of William Wilberforce’s birthday as East Riding day.

Wilberforce was born in Hull, part of the historic East Riding but now a different council area.

He said: “Why they have this ridiculous narrow-minded approach, I cannot understand it. I think they should be ashamed.”

An East Riding Council spokesman said Mr Strangeway was free to celebrate East Riding Day but this was “not a matter for the council”.

The three ancient Ridings of Yorkshire lost their administrative status in 1974 as part of a reorganisation of local government.

August 22 was chosen as North Riding Day as it is the anniversary of the Battle of the Standard, fought near Northallerton, and the Battle of Bosworth field when the last Yorkist king, Richard III, lost the throne.

North Yorkshire County Council chairman Bernard Bateman said: “The North Riding has a proud and honourable history, and it is a great pleasure for me to be able to show my support for this excellent campaign.”

Mr Pickles is backing a new guide to designing and registering flags after the Government relaxed rules on where they can be flown.

“As a proud Yorkshireman, I’m delighted to see my compatriots in the Ridings are renewing their sense of local pride with these newly designed flags,” he said.

“These new designs are absolutely great.

“This proves that your sense of belonging can’t be wiped out by a bureaucrat’s pen stroke on a map.”