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BLACK COUNTRY FLAGS... MADE IN CHINA; Dismay as region famed for manufacturing has specially Dismay as region famed for manufacturing has commissioned flags made thousands of miles away...

Byline: BOB HAYWOOD Special Correspondent sundaymercury@sundaymercury.net

THE Black Country helped to shape the modern world. e region has manufactured an amazing range of goods and products for 250 years.

But when it comes to celebrating its proud heritage with a specially commissioned ag, they are being made... in CHINA.

Last night, Black Country loyalists expressed their dismay at the foreign ag ap.

e ag was conceived to boost the area's image and to celebrate its longstanding industrial, cultural, literary and archaeological history.

It's don't have to Designed by Stourbridge schoolgirl Gracie Shepherd in red, black and white, it bears symbols of the area's chain-mak-because ing and glass-making industries.

have e ag was own on ocial buildings on the inaugural Black Country Day in July. It also uttered over events during the Black Country Festival in the same month.

It has also been photographed all over the world - including at the World Cup in Brazil, the Tour de France and over Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

But the ag is actually made 6,000 MILES AWAY in Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China.

Mike Pearson, editor of e Blackcountryman, the magazine of the Black Country Society, said: "We very much supported because it is cheaper to it made overseas the commissioning of the ag and the society was represented on the design judging panel. "We believe the Black Country has much to be proud to be of, and deserves its own ag.

"But I didn't know that the ag is made in Taiwan.

"It's sad that we don't seem to have the infrastructure to produce it here. I presume it's because it is cheaper to have it made overseas.

"But we should take heart from the fact that the Black Country remains the third-biggest exporting region in the UK."

e distinctive ag is one of a range of ag-linked products which can be purchased by the public. ey include bunting, mugs, fridge magnets, badges, pens, badges and stickers.

Unlike the ag, most of the other souvenirs are made in the UK, many of them in the Black Country.

One of the biggest outlets is the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, which has played a key role in the ag project. ey can also be purchased from the Red House Glass Cone in Wordsley, Stourbridge, one of only four surviving in Britain.

e shape of the cone is incorporated in the Black Country Flag, along with links of heavy industrial chain. Dudley Council, which runs the Red House Glass Cone, said the ag supplier was recommended by the Black Country Living Museum. A spokeswoman for the Black Country Living Museum said: "We launched the competition to design the ag but were not involved with the production of the ags and associated merchandise. e museum endeavours to source the products it sells locally.

"All of our own prots from the merchandise go back into funding the museum as an educational charity telling the story of the signicance of the Black Country's industrial heritage."

e 5ft by 3ft ags on sale at both attractions - PS4.99 each - are imported by Worldwide Flags of Ayrshire, Scotland.

Last night, Michael Ross, of the family-run rm, said: "As in many products, the cost of ags made overseas is far lower."

It's sad we don't seem to have the infrastructure to produce it here. I presume it's because it is cheaper to have it made overseas

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Aug 17, 2014
Words:585
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