SCOTLAND'S most celebrated historian Tom Devine has been announced as the patron of the Scottish Flag Trust.

Devine was at Athelstaneford in East Lothian - the birthplace of Scotland's national flag - on Friday as he formally took up his new role.

The academic - the Sir William Fraser Professor Emeritus at Edinburgh University - takes over the role from the late Winnie Ewing.

The Scottish Flag Trust was set up in 1984 to promote the use of the Saltire, one of the oldest national flags in Europe, and is responsible for the establishment and upkeep of the Flag Heritage Centre in Athelstaneford and the national Saltire Memorial.

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Devine said: “Everyone in Scotland no matter their political outlook can support Scotland’s Saltire and back the restoration of this important site. With the Euro 2024 a few months away there is no better time to rally behind Scotland’s Saltire, it is a symbol which all Scots can be rightly proud.

“I am honoured to become patron of the Scottish Flag Trust in succession to Dr Ewing and lend my enthusiastic support to the fundraising efforts underway now and in the future.”

The announcement comes at a busy time for the trust which maintains the Saltire Memorial and Flag Heritage centre at Athelstaneford.

St Andrew's Day this year will be the 60th anniversary of the unveiling of the Saltire Memorial in Athelstaneford Parish Church and the trust is mid-way though fundraising for a series of major projects to transform the visitor attraction.

It has ambitious plans for a new historic interpretation and improved accessibility which will open up the site to wider groups of visitors.

The trust is also working to implement a new landscape masterplan and renovation of the Saltire Memorial, with the work being funded through crowdfunded donations at

Trust chair David Williamson said: “The trust is delighted to have Sir Tom as our new patron as we continue our ambitious programme of restoration and renewal at the birthplace of Scotland’s national flag. 

"The Scottish Flag Trust promotes the Saltire as a welcoming symbol for all Scots whether they are Scots by birth, by choice or through their family roots.”