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

John is an Anglican clergyman, based in Northamptonshire, and previously 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’s interest in flags began as a schoolboy in Ghana, but his professional involvement dates from the early 1990s when he was working as a software design engineer. One of his projects was a CD-ROM atlas and he decided to sort out the flag images … Graham has since designed many new flags: for example, Tristan da Cunha, the UK Border Force, the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, and the church of St Margaret’s, Westminster. He advises the UK Government on flags and flag protocol and edits BR20 Flags of All Nations (the flag book – now website – of the UK Ministry of Defence). From 1999 he has served the Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques (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. Her initial involvement was purely commercial but she soon began to design and produce 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 her maxim. Lesley is also keen to promote the adoption of county and community flags across the UK.

Current term: 2019 – 2022

Philip Tibbetts

Philip Tibbetts
Communities Vexillologist, Flag Institute

Philip developed an interest in the meaning and importance of symbols while reading philosophy at the University of St Andrews. This interest found initial expression when he helped to establish a tartan and flag for the Black Country, his home region. And as Communities Vexillologist he has since helped over 50 communities across the UK to design and develop a flag – from villages to regions over a million strong. Philip serves as an advisor to the UK Parliamentary Flags & Heraldry Committee, and in Scotland as Honorary Vexillologist to the Court of the Lord Lyon. Beyond his local engagement and graphical design work, he also undertakes academic research in this area (including a published article on the history of county emblems.)

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 developed when, as a Signals Officer, his responsibilities included flags. He started to record British ensigns, producing the list that eventually became The Colours of the Fleet. Malcolm an advisor to the UK Parliamentary Flags & Heraldry Committee and played a crucial role in ensuring that the UK national flag flies every day on public buildings in London.