Five creative youngsters today etched their names in history as they unveiled the design which will forevermore be the official Aberdeenshire flag.
The new emblem was raised up the pole at Castle Fraser during a sunny ceremony attended by scores of locals.
Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, Sandy Manson, hailed the occasion as a “historic day” for the north-east.
What does the new Aberdeenshire flag look like?
The new Aberdeenshire flag is a mix of purple and gold, with a castle in the middle bearing the image of a crown.
Meryn Wilson, Eliana Irwin, Zara Sim and Iris Main, from Newtonhill Primary School near Stonehaven, came up with the colours and layout.
However, judges took inspiration from Tristan Davidson’s entry to add an all-important finishing touch.
Tristan, from Elrick Primary School at Westhill, had also designed a flag with a castle in the centre – but had adorned it with the crown to represent the area’s royal links.
They were all inspired after receiving visits to their school from Scotland’s top flag expert and Lyon Court Vexillologist Philip Tibbetts as flag fever gripped the region’s pupils.
Youngsters beat global competition in UK’s biggest ever flag contest
Their entries formed part of a record-breaking contest launched last September, with 820 designs flooding in from all over Aberdeenshire and beyond.
Some were submitted from as far away as New Zealand and Canada.
A panel of judges spent hours looking over the colourful array before drawing up a shortlist.
Over about a month at the turn of the year, more than 4,000 people voted on the winning design.
Since that time, experts have been working on getting the finished product ready.
And it was only this morning (Saturday, April 22) that the five winners learned of their success.
What happened at Aberdeenshire flag ceremony?
The pupils, accompanied by proud parents, were “amazed” when they were told the result shortly after arriving at Castle Fraser at 10am.
As they celebrated, the The Gordon Highlanders Association Drums and Pipes warmed up nearby and a group of Lonach Highlanders gathered to discuss their imminent march.
Eliana, 12, was quick to impress with her local knowledge – telling me there are more than 260 castles across Aberdeenshire.
Tristan added: “I knew this was ‘castle country’, and I wanted to do something for the royal connection too.”
Watch the moment the flag was raised:
Their respective headteachers were also in attendance, agreeing that a design formed from different parts of the county perfectly summed up the unifying emblem.
Huge ceremony to cap off ‘extraordinary project’
Mr Manson opened the event by explaining how the “extraordinary project” took shape more than a year ago.
The Aberdeenshire flag is now the seventh belonging to an individual county in Scotland.
Flags were dispersed to be raised in Braemar, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Inverurie, Peterhead and Turriff.
After the Reverend Kenneth Mackenzie from Braemar and Crathie Church blessed the flag, the children carried it to the top of the tower.
Three loud cheers of “hip hip, hooray!” rang out over the skirl of the bagpipes as it was hoisted into place.
Flag a ‘special legacy’ for organiser who died in the midst of competition
However, it was a ceremony tinged with tragedy.
Deputy lieutenant Miranda McHardy played a leading role in the campaign, and was in the midst of organising the unveiling ceremony when she died unexpectedly on Sunday, March 5.
There was a special tribute to the “remarkable” 59-year-old, who had three children.
Mr Manson said: “She managed this project from the outset. She ran it superbly, and helped create something inspirational.
“Our new flag will always be part of her special legacy.”
Watch the procession as the ceremony began:
Meet the families who arrived to see Aberdeenshire flag revealed
The Aberdeenshire flag results
In first place with 1,450 votes (34.46%) was the winning collaboration:
Second place was this creation based on the rivers Dee and Don, with red representing Aberdeen FC and the yellow standing for crops and beaches.
It secured 804 votes, for a 19.11% share.
This flag based on the north-east’s fishing heritage came third, with 699 votes earning it a 16.11% share.
And this flag showing blue for the Dee and Don, green for our arable land and yellow for the sunlight came fourth with 634 votes for a 15.07% share.
And close behind, with 621 votes for a 14.76% share, was this creation largely inspired by the region’s rich agriculture.