Peeblesshire hotel defies Olympic rings ban

The owner of Stobo Castle Health Spa in the Scottish Borders is controversially defying Olympic regulations and continues to fly the official Olympic flag in support of this great event, whatever the consequences.
The owner of Stobo Castle Health Spa in the Scottish Borders is controversially defying Olympic regulations and continues to fly the official Olympic flag in support of this great event, whatever the consequences.

A PEEBLESSHIRE spa hotel is defying an Olympic ban by flying a flag bearing the Games’ trademarked symbol.

The luxurious Stobo Castle is in danger of attracting legal action for the banner – which displays the iconic five interlocking rings – which has stood upon its roof for the past month in the lead-up to the London Games.

This is despite the Olympic Committee’s tough stance on groups who use the symbol.

But Stobo owner Stephen Winyard said he would rip up any papers received from the Olympic movement regarding his flag, after a number of firms in the south of England were informed they had breached copyright rules.

He said: “The Olympics have largely bypassed Scotland – we’re flying the flag in support of this wonderful event.

“I have been informed that I face the risk of prosecution, however, we flew the Union Jack in celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee and now we’re taking a firm stand on flying the Olympic flag in celebration of London 2012.”

Mr Winyard added: “I think this ruling is draconian. We plan to keep the flag up for the duration of the Olympics.”

A spokeswoman for the hotel added that they are yet to hear from the Olympic Committee, who hold exclusive rights for use of the rings, which represent each of the world’s continents.

She told TheSouthern: “This is not a one-off or a publicity stunt – we have previously flown Hungarian and Polish flags to celebrate the nationalities of those that work at Stobo Castle.

“We want to fly the Olympic flag to celebrate the event in Scotland.”

American band The Hopefuls had to drop Olympic from their title in 2005 after the US committee for the world’s largest sports gathering said they had violated rules.

But former Greek airline Olympic Air found a way round the ban by using six multi-coloured intertwining rings instead of five.

An Olympic spokesman told reporters this week: “We must protect sponsors, but our approach is to be sensible and proportionate.”