Trustees and Council

The Flag Institute is run by its Trustees, President and Officers, who together make up the Flag Institute Council. Governance is vested in the Trustees, the Officers oversee day-to-day management, while the President (elected by the Trustees) is there to offer counsel and advice. An individual can serve simultaneously as both an Officer and a Trustee. Trustees are elected for a three-year term, resigning in rotation to ensure continuity of management, with an option to seek re-election if desired.

Trustees 2019/20

The current Trustees (with term of office) are:

John Hall

John Hall FF FFI
Chairman, Flag Institute

Based in Northamptonshire, John is an Anglican clergyman who before ordination worked for a couple of leading UK flag manufacturers. His enthusiasm was first sparked in infants school, where his headmaster – an avid vexillologist – had installed a flagpole in the school grounds. Focusing on historical, national, and rank and positional flags, John boasts a collection over 400 strong, which he flies from a flagpole in the garden of what is arguably England’s only vicarage equipped with the flag of the deputy defence minister of the former German Democratic Republic!

Current term: 2018 – 2020

Philip Thompson
Treasurer, Flag Institute

Born into a world of flags, Philip represents the fourth generation of a leading UK flagmaker with a rich history in pioneering and developing modern methods of manufacture. But his interest runs deeper than the purely commercial, embracing the history, culture and symbolism of any flag, how it was created, how it changes over time, and how these changes were and are affected by the materials and methods chosen in its manufacture.

Current term: 2019 – 2022

Graham Bartram

Graham Bartram FFI
Chief Vexillologist, Flag Institute

Graham first became interested in flags as a schoolboy in Ghana, but his professional involvement began in the 1990s when, as a software design engineer, he worked on a CD-ROM atlas and decided to sort out the flag images. He has since designed many new flags, including those of Tristan da Cunha, the UK Border Force, the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and the church of St Margaret’s, Westminster. Graham advises the UK Government on flags and flag protocol, and edits BR20 Flags of All Nations – the Ministry of Defence flag book (now a website). Since 1999 he has served the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (FIAV) as Secretary-General for Congresses.

Current term: 2018 – 2021

Craig Hughes
Chief Executive, Flag Institute

Craig is at heart a keen historian and storyteller. He finds that vexillology allows him the opportunity to study the historical intricacies of flags and to pass that information on. In his flag chest he has over three hundred types ranging from a pre-1801 Union Flag – predating the Act of Union with Ireland (and the flag Nelson would have flown at Trafalgar) – to his latest acquisition, the Island of Herm. Craig is a published author, lawyer and lives in Guernsey.

Current term: 2018 – 2021

Lesley Ross

Lesley Ross
Trade representative

Lesley’s interest in flags began when she opened her flagmaking company in 2001. While her initial involvement was purely commercial, she was quickly drawn towards designing and producing flags for national celebrations, launching her first pattern in 2002 for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. ‘Let’s fly and use flags to promote celebration, happiness and life,’ is Lesley’s maxim. She is also keen to promote the introduction of county and community flags across the UK.

Current term: 2019 – 2022

Philip Tibbetts

Philip Tibbetts
Communities Vexillologist, Flag Institute

As Communities Vexillologist, Philip serves as an advisor to the UK Parliamentary Flags & Heraldry Committee, and Honorary Vexillologist to the Court of the Lord Lyon. He has supported over 50 UK communities to develop their own flag – from villages to regions over a million strong. Philip developed his interest in the meaning and importance of symbols while reading philosophy at the University of St Andrews and first employed it in helping to establish a tartan and a flag for his home region, the Black Country. Philip’s work has since involved him in local engagement, graphical design and academic research (including publication on the history of county emblems) across the UK.

Current term: 2017 – 2020


Officers 2019/20

The other officers serving on the Flag Institute Council are: John Ford (Correspondence Secretary), Jos Poels FF (Editor-in-Chief, Flagmaster), Ian Sumner FF FFI (Librarian) and Leigh Wetherall FF (Convenor).


President 2019/20

The President is elected by the Trustees and attends meetings of the Trustees and of the Council:

Malcolm Farrow

Malcolm Farrow OBE FF FFI
President, Flag Institute

Malcolm’s interest in vexillology began early in his naval career and grew when he became a Signals Officer with responsibilities including flags. He developed an interest in British ensigns and started compiling a list that many years later would become The Colours of the Fleet – the most comprehensive list of all worldwide flags and ensigns, past and present, that bear the union flag in the canton. Malcolm played a crucial role in ensuring that the UK national flag is flown on every day of the year on public buildings in London. He is also an advisor to the UK Parliamentary Flags & Heraldry Committee.