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Proud Scot ordered to remove Saltire flags welcoming people to Scottish border town-Scottish News

A PROUD Scot has been ordered to take down Saltire flags which he put up as a welcome to Scotland’s “First True Border Town”.

David Shepherd said he erected the flags to welcome visitors who had crossed the border into Coldstream in the Scottish Borders.

The 55-year-old installed 16 blue and white flags onto railings of a public car park which lead to a stunning public viewpoint in the centre of the historical town.

Saltire Flags- Scottish News
The flags in Coldstream in the Scottish Borders.

They were installed on Friday July 31 in time for Coldstream Civic Week which was now cancelled due to coronavirus.

But, on Monday [7 Sep] Scottish Borders Council forced David to take the flag of Scotland down saying that they received a complaint.

David reluctantly removed the flags later on that day, but Scots and locals have been left fuming by the council decision.

Speaking today (WED), David, said: “The reason on the email from the council was worded that ‘there were Saltires flying on council property’ and I was instructed to take them down.

“In previous years they’ve been up and there have been no complaints and I put the 16 flags at the same place as before.

“They were put up as a ‘Welcome to Scotland’ message.

“I’m a sign maker so it’s in my nature to do things like this to help the town – they flew all summer when the Commonwealth Torch came through.

“It’s just nice to see when you come over the border as it’s the first Scottish town you come to.

“Today is also the anniversary of The Battle of Culloden so they would have tied in with that.

“People have still been coming in and they often stop and take pictures next to them.

“A lot of us are very aware there’s not too much to mark coming over the border and we are also very conscious that we need to encourage people to stop as it’s a small town but we need tourists.”

David Shepard Pictured- Scottish News
David installed the 16 Saltire flags but was made to remove them

David added: “To me, it’s not political, it’s just a Scottish flag in a Scottish town.

“If you take that away, in some people’s eyes you are taking away the town’s identity. As the first border town people come to.”

On Monday David posted about the decision on Facebook writing: “I installed these flags to add a bit of colour and identity to Coldstream (which is in Scotland) for civic week after us all enduring months of dealing with COVID.

“The flags, wood posts, paint, gold tops and installed them entirely at my own cost.

“If anybody feels that they were up too long, that’s fine. If anyone was offended by them, that’s fine too.

“I did not ask permission to put them up but, as I hope you all know, if I do an installation, which I’ve done many times, it’s done to the best of my ability and with sympathy to its surroundings.”

David's Facebook post-Scottish News
David took to Facebook to talk about the issue.

Last night [Tue], a petition in support of David was launched and he has received dozens of positive messages online.

Ian Waugh wrote: “The Saltire is not a political statement David – but I suggest that anyone objecting to the Saltire flying is, themselves, making a political statement.”

Shelley Williams said: “I think they brighten the place up.

“They’re not doing any harm being there.

“There’s always one jobsworth that’s gotta spoil it.”

Louise E Tonge wrote: “They look wonderful. All credit to you for doing this.

“I wonder who complained – and why?”

And Karen Eastlake-Bell said: “Totally ridiculous that you can’t display any pride in your own nationality and in your own country.”

A spokesman for the Conservative-led Scottish Border Council today (WED) said: “These flags were erected/attached to Council property with no prior permission.

“The Council has therefore contacted the person involved and asked for them to be removed.”

The council refused to comment on the nature of the complaint or address why the flags were allowed to stay up during previous events.

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