PORTLANDERS are celebrating a step forward in putting the island’s unique identity on the map with the official recognition of its flag.

The stone-coloured, green and blue design with a white castle is flying proudly over the town council offices and available for purchase.

The colours represent the landscape of the area, Portland stone, grass and the sea, the white tower represents the castles and the naval coronet shows the long connection with the Royal Navy.

Mayor of Portland David Thurston is looking forward to presenting the flag to the captain of HMS Portland when the Type 23 frigate pays a special visit to the island.

He said: “Portland has always had its own flag but in the mist of time it kind of disappeared.

“About a year ago the last Mayor Councillor Richard Paisley resurrected the idea and said ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have our own flag?’ “We started doing research and discovered an old flag in the council offices.

“We discovered that it hadn’t been officially registered so we sent it away and got it registered and now it’s flying over the council offices.

“I’m going to present the flag to the captain of HMS Portland when it comes to Portland.

“It’s great, for them to be able to fly their own Portland flag over Portland’s own ship is lovely.”

The flag will be presented to the warship on Sunday May 1 after a freedom march through the island.

Councillor Thurston added: “There will be a service at the Cenotaph by The Heights Hotel, which will include the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset and other dignitaries.

“Then a salute and the whole crew will march down to Easton.

“When the parade is over, everybody is going back to The Heights for a buffet and the presentation will be made there.”

Town clerk Ian Looker said before the latest addition, the only flag to fly above the council offices was the Union flag on official flag-flying days.

He said councillors considered three possible designs but settled almost unanimously on a creation by poet Skylark Durston, which had become known across the island on car stickers.

He added: “We got it registered with the Flag Institute and they smartened the design up a bit.

“There was a feeling that the flag was needed for the island’s identity, something to really put Portland on the map and hopefully the town council as well.”

View the flag online at www.flaginstitute.org and following the link for Flag Registry.

To purchase your own flag call the town council on 01305 821638.