THE NEW flag for Herefordshire has been unveiled, as it was raised to the top of the tower at Hereford Cathedral.

A competition to find the new flag saw designs from all over the UK entered, with the winner an artist from Kent.

Jason Saber's design is a bull, above the River Wye and the county's deep red soil.

The winner was chosen by the people of Herefordshire from a short-list of the five, whittled down from an original 695 entries, a UK record for any flag competition.

Mr Saber has no direct connection with Herefordshire, but the flag committee chairman said without him, there might not have been a flag.

"It was Jason who got in touch to point out that almost every other county now had one," David Marshall said.

"The two unofficial flags that were around did not meet the criteria to be officially registered.

"So he proposed something that could be registered, and it was basically a version of what's been chosen."

Mr Saber was the only one of the five short-listed artists not to be represented at the unveiling and the ceremony at Hereford Cathedral on Saturday.

The other four short-listed artists were represented, including eight-year-old Phoebe Holden from Credenhill and James Moffatt, whose partner Deborah McKimm died after completing her design.

Rhys Thomas, originally from Clehonger, and Paige Defelice, a graduate of the Hereford College of Arts were also represented.

Mr Saber said: "I don't have a deep knowledge of Herefordshire but I think I understand its symbols.

"The thing about flag design is that less is more. You mustn't cram too much in.

"So I thought about what the main elements would be. The soil's a very deep rich red. And what can be better than a fertile soil as a background?

"It is called Here-FORD, that makes the river important. And the bull is the dominant symbol of the county so I decided that should be the main focus."

The flags will be on sale to the public shortly and will be flown from public buildings on special occasions.