The flag is a blue Nordic cross edged with white on a green background – similar
to the Norwegian flag – and is used widely on South Uist including greeting arrivals
at Lochboisdale Harbour.
The origins of the design are unknown but it dates back at least 15 years.
The efforts to have the flag recorded were championed locally by Donnie Steele who
secured the support of the island’s community councils. Funding was then provided
by the community landlord Stòras Uibhist, for whom South Uist makes up a part of
Recognising the well-established and highly popular usage of the design on South
Uist, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar were also happy to support the island’s petition
to the Lord Lyon.
This work was supported by Alasdair Allan MSP, and his office, who facilitated the
engagement of Philip Tibbetts, Communities Vexillologist from the Flag Institute.
Philip has supported the development of community flags throughout Scotland, including
Caithness and Kirkcudbrightshire, and was able to provide his experience and advice
to South Uist.
The recognition of the flag is planned to be celebrated at the South Uist Games on
Wednesday 19 July, with a raising ceremony.
In the long term it is intended that the flag can be used innovatively to enhance
the local community and bring global recognition such as has been seen with Shetland,
Orkney and Caithness.
It is hoped that the idea for community flags will not just to stop at South Uist,
with Barra certainly known to be seeking recognition for their long established flag.
Other islands and communities are encouraged to develop flags, for recording with
the Lyon Court, to help with their own internal identity and external visibility.
Those wishing to do so are encouraged to contact Philip Tibbetts.
Donnie Steele said: “I have been working on recognition for a year now, and I am
delighted to announce that the flag of South Uist has been officially recognised
by the Court of The Lord Lyon.
“Official recognition will be an enormous boost and can only enhance South Uist,
which we must take full advantage of.
“Discussions with key stakeholders such as community councils, Stòras Uibhist and
the Comhairle were very positive, and the green light was given to drive this forward.
“We need to look at innovative ideas and ways to enhance the local community, recognition
brings global identity to South Uist and economic benefits/opportunities will ensue.
Official recognition will be an enormous boost and can only enhance South Uist. We
must take full advantage of this.”
South Uist flag receives official recognition
28 June 2017
South Uist is to have the first officially recognised community flag in the Outer
Hebrides. The design will be entered into the official records of the Court of the
Lord Lyon, where all such flags are recorded.