Flag Institute Council

The Flag Institute Council comprises the President, Trustees and Officers.

Together they manage the Flag Institute in accordance with its Constitution.

  • Our President is the ceremonial leader of the Flag Institute, elected by the Trustees.
    • The President provides advice and guidance, and attends meetings of the Council and of the Trustees.
  • Our Trustees manage the Flag Institute.
    • Each Trustee serves a three-year term, resigning in rotation to ensure continuity, and can stand for re-election.
  • Our Officers are responsible for day-to-day operations.
    • Each officer is appointed by the Trustees, who can also serve as an Officer.

The members of the Flag Institute Council for 2023/24 are:

Malcolm Farrow

Malcolm Farrow OBE FF FFI

Malcolm’s interest in vexillology began early in his naval career, developing further when he became a signals officer with responsibility for flags. Malcolm started to record British ensigns, producing a list that many years later became The Colours of the Fleet. Malcolm is an advisor to the UK Parliamentary Flags & Heraldry Committee. He also played a key role in ensuring that the UK national flag flies every day on public buildings in London.


John Hall

John Hall FF FFI

John is an Anglican clergyman who worked in the past for a couple of leading UK flag manufacturers. His enthusiasm for flags was first sparked in infants’ school, where his headmaster – an avid vexillologist – had installed a flagpole in the grounds. John now focuses on historical, national, and rank and positional flags, with a collection over 400 strong. They fly from a flagpole at his Northamptonshire vicarage – arguably the only one in England equipped with the flag of the deputy defence minister of the former German Democratic Republic!

Trustee: 2021–24

Leigh Wetherall, Chief Executive of the Flag InstituteLeigh Wetherall FF
Chief Executive

As a child growing up by the Lincolnshire coast, Leigh viewed flags as windows into a country and its history. Leigh’s professional career lies in fundraising and working for non-profit organisations. He joined the Flag Institute in late 2016 and was appointed General Secretary of the memorable 27th International Congress of Vexillology, London (2017). Leigh then became FI Convenor, organising and delivering the FI’s Golden Jubilee events as well as the regular Spring and Winter Conferences held each year at venues across the UK. He is a regular contributor to Flagmaster and a member of its editorial team. Appointed Chief Executive in November 2022, Leigh’s current interests lie in the colour symbolism of flags and the message a Pantone can convey.

Philip Thompson

Philip Thompson

As the fourth generation of a leading UK flagmaker with a rich history of technical innovation and development, Philip grew up in the trade. But his interest runs deeper than this. What does a flag represent in terms of history, culture and symbolism? How was it designed and made? How does it change over time? And what is the impact of the materials and methods used in its manufacture?

Trustee: 2022–25

Graham Bartram

Graham Bartram FFI FVAST
Chief Vexillologist

Graham interest in flags began as a schoolboy in Ghana. However, his professional involvement dates from the early 1990s. As a software design engineer, he decided to tackle the flag images for a projected CD-ROM atlas. … and the die was cast! Graham has designed many new flags, most recently for the House of Commons. Other flags include: Tristan da Cunha, UK Border Force, Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and St Margaret’s, Westminster. He advises the UK Government on flags and flag protocol. He edits BR20 Flags of All Nations (the former flag book – now a website – of the UK Ministry of Defence). And since 1999 he has served the Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques (FIAV) as Secretary-General for Congresses.

Trustee: 2021–24

Lesley Ross

Lesley Ross
General Secretary

Lesley’s interest in flags began when she opened her flagmaking company in 2001. She soon began 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 her maxim. She is also keen to promote the adoption of county and community flags across the UK.

Trustee: 2022–25

Philip Tibbetts

Philip Tibbetts FF FFI FSAScot
Communities Vexillologist

Philip first developed an interest in the meaning and importance of symbols while studying philosophy at the University of St Andrews. In 2009 he helped to create a tartan and a flag for his home region, the Black Country. And as Communities vexillologist he has since helped over 50 communities across the UK – from villages to regions over a million strong – to produce their own flag. Beyond his work in local engagement and graphic design, Philip undertakes vexillological research and has published an article on the history of county emblems. In September 2021 he was appointed to the Court of the Lord Lyon as March Pursuivant Extraordinary, and he is also an advisor to the UK Parliamentary Flags & Heraldry Committee.

Trustee: 2023–26

Roger Ourset Trustee: 2023–26 Biography to follow

Other officers 2023-24

John Ford (Correspondence Secretary); Jos Poels FF (Editor-in-Chief, Flagmaster); Ian Sumner FF FFI (Librarian).