SOMERSET now has a flag for the first time in its history.

Dignitaries from across the area represented by the ancient county of Somerset watched as the Somerset flag was raised for the first time this evening.

Ed Woods, of Curry Rivel, who was born in Yeovil, said he was awe-struck as his design of a red dragon on a yellow background unfurled in the breeze above Creech Castle, the Taunton offices of competition sponsors Pardoes solicitors.

Ed’s design is based on ancient symbols associated with the county and polled the most votes in a competition run by Newsquest Somerset, publisher of this series of websites, and publicised further afield by BBC Somerset.

Ed, 36, also received a £250 prize.

Joint runners-up in the competition were Megan and Jack Sully, age 10 and six, who go to Wellesley Park Primary School in Wellington, with their cross design, and James Guscott, 33, of Minehead, for his cross, shield and dragon entry.

In third place was Dil Roworth, of Taunton, with a design featuring waves and Glastonbury Tor.

All finalists, who came from all around the county, were presented with a flag book in recognition of their achievements.

Ed told guests at the ceremony he was honoured that his design had been chosen.

He said he first started moves to get the design adopted as Somerset’s back in 2006 and was delighted to see many years of efforts come to fruition.

“I love Somerset and I’ve lived here all my life. Compared to other counties, it has had something missing – that had to be changed and the flag had to represent the whole county.

“It’s an honour to be part of Somerset’s history – I’m overawed.”

One of the competition judges, Taunton-born Deborah Meaden, of BBC’s Dragons’ Den, presented the prizes on the night.

Deborah, who lives in South Somerset, said: “I will be flying the flag at my home. The design epitomised what I love about the county – it’s vibrant and bold and eye-catching … and it has a dragon on it too!”

Fellow judge Robin Ashburner, Somerset resident and past president of the Flag Institute, confirmed the organisation would be adopting it as the county’s official flag.

A high-res flag image of the design will be made available for all to use on this site soon.

For details on how to get a flag, keep reading this site and pick up your copy of the next edition of the Somerset County Gazette, Bridgwater Mercury, Chard and Ilminster News and Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News.

You can see the flag flying above Creech Castle on the approach eastern A358 approach to Taunton.

A flag will also be taken by the chairman of Somerset County Council to be presented to the captain of HMS Somerset this weekend.

Dignitaries from local councils at tonight’s ceremony also said they would be encouraging their authorities to fly the flag.

The Flag for Somerset competition began back in May when entries were invited from people who live, work or who were born in the county. About 300 entries were received which were shortlisted by a panel of judges.

People were then able to vote for their favourite design from the shortlist with the one polling the most being the winner.