IT'S set to be Hampshire's newest annual tradition – a full day dedicated to celebrating the county.

Civic chiefs will be staging the first ever 'Hampshire Day' on Monday, raising a flag in Winchester to highlight the "specialness and unity" of the area.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, will host the ceremony from 9.30am in the Castle Yard of The Great Hall, which will see the newly registered flag fly for the first time.

Chairman of the council, Councillor Charles Choudhary, will be attending the event, and said: "We've got the Union Jack to represent the kingdom, but we felt we needed our own flag.

"We decided it would play a very important part in representing our unity as a county – a true symbol of Hampshire."

The flag has been designed by a number of organisations across the county, and like the county council’s banner of arms, it comprises a bi-colour of yellow and red.

A Tudor rose and a Saxon crown are included in reference to Hampshire’s ancient history, including the fact that Winchester was once the capital of England.

Despite the details of the first 'Hampshire Day' being made public only last Wednesday, Cllr Choudhary hopes for a large turnout.

He added: "Unfortunately, we couldn't give much more notice than we did as we had to tie everything up and make sure all the organisations that wanted to be involved weren't left behind.

"We hope people from across the county can make it. But of course, many people will have other commitments due to the short notice."

The county council hope 'Hampshire Day' will become "a key day annual event" where people across the county will celebrate the area's rich history, its traditions, and the "diverse culture of Hampshire communities today".

Lord-Lieutenant Mr Atkinson said: "Hampshire Day is about celebrating everything that makes Hampshire great – its heritage, world-famous historic sites, diverse mix of towns and villages, beautiful natural landscapes and, above all, the people of Hampshire - both past and present.

"This is why I hope communities across the county will embrace ‘Hampshire Day’ by holding their own activities and celebrations, so that over time, this day will go from strength to strength in fostering a shared pride in Hampshire and all that it represents."