Flying high at last

A village school stood proudly by as its new flag was at last raised yesterday after a five-month red tape wrangle.

The youngsters at Beetley Primary, near Dereham, designed the standard which was first set to be hoisted up the white flagpole in May.

But when they gathered outside the school last spring, joined by local D Day veteran Len Bloomfield, they were disappointed to find they could only raise the union flag - because the school's own one needed planning consent.

Parent governor Louise Bunning, the driving force behind the project, said: 'Breckland council saw it as advertising our school, which wasn't our point at all.

'All we wanted to do was mark the achievement of our children in our school. It was very disappointing.'

Five months on - and with planning permission - parents, teachers, governors and children gathered outside to see their design, which reflects their view of the school, flying high.

The job of hoisting it for the first time went to school supporter Mr Bloomfield, who came up with the idea of the flag and helped pay for it.

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The 89-year-old said: 'Children, it's been a long time coming but you should be proud of yourselves. I think you set the standard for other schools in Norfolk.

'You did it, you designed it, you worked as a team. It's a great achievement. Carry on doing that and you won't let us old ones down.'

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman came along for the ceremony to show his support and agreed with Mr Bloomfield that all schools should have their own flag. 'I'm delighted that this saga has finally been sorted out and honoured to be here,' he said.