Last Sunday we attended the yearly service and change of Saltire at Athelstaneford. Well, it had been a yearly service until Covid restricted people’s movements and ability to gather.
Behind the Church in the village is the Doocot that was converted into The Flag Heritage Centre. It tells the story of the flag of Scotland through film and story. It has become a popular tourist destination with both people from abroad, and those from home.
The pictures show you the floodlit Saltire memorial which sits in the front of the church, next to the main road. Haddington Pipe Band entertained the gathering for around half an hour before the service began. Many of the local children attended the event and the minister rounded up a half a dozen to carry the old flag into the church.
The First Lieutenant had agreed to attend but an event was added to his diary which took precedence. He sent along two of his Heralds which really pleased the villagers.
During the church service the local School children led the congregation in something I had never heard before. The words are by Stewart Nisbett and the tune was composed by Phil Cunningham.
From the sky to the field, from the field to the town
From the town to the people, I am flying for you
From the South to the North, from the hills & the isles
From the towns and the cities, I am flying for you.
In the pale winter morning & the warm summer’s evening
Through the rain & the sunshine, I am flying for you
For the old & the young, for the rich and the poor
For the saint & the sinner, I am flying for you
I have travelled the world, I have carried your dreams
I have fought in your battles, I am flying for you
I have made you my best, I have made you my own
I have made you my people, I am flying for you.
I have gathered you to me, I have made you a nation
Whether far-flung or home, I am flying for you
From the end of the earth, to my home in my heart
From the past to the future, I am flying for you.
After the service the new flag was carried out and everyone gathered round as it was raised and from where it will fly proudly for the coming year.
If you haven’t visited the centre yet, please do so if you are the Edinburgh to Dunbar part of our country.
Having difficulty finding that perfect Christmas present for some-one? The Flag Trust have a unique fundraising campaign where you can sponsor the flying of the Saltire by purchasing a particular day, a birthday, anniversary, special event. A certificate will be posted out to the person you have bought the sponsor for telling them the flag will be flying in their name that day. Learn more about this here https://saltire.scot/sponsor