Residents cover estate in England flags ahead of Euros kick-off

A housing estate has been covered in England flags ahead of the nation’s first Euros 2020 match on Sunday.

Residents on the Kirby Estate in Bermondsey, south-east London, have spent the past few days putting up bunting and laying flags over their balconies, as well as sticking them on street lamps and to walls just days before the delayed football tournament kicks off.

Chris Dowse, 42, who works in the hospitality industry, said people first began showing their patriotic side during the Euros in 2012.

“I came home one night and saw one of my neighbours, Alan, had put a couple of flags up. I thought ‘Oh, that looks nice’, and I looked over to the other block and saw a lady had also put a couple of flags up,” he told the PA news agency.

“It just didn’t look finished, so I said to Alan ‘Let’s go get some more.’

“So we ended up buying more and more and more. Then one side was complete but Geraldine’s (another neighbour) side wasn’t.

“So we all came together and said ‘Right, we’re doing it properly and we’ll have the whole estate done.’ In 2018 that was the first time the entire estate had a flag on it.”

Euro 2020
The Scottish flag is in honour of a resident’s mother (Yui Mok/PA)

This year also features a Scottish flag too, which Mr Dowse said is for a sentimental reason.

“The chap who lives there, his dad was English and his mum was Scottish. They’ve both sadly passed away in the last 18 months or so, so he’s put the Scottish flag up on one side, to honour his mum, and England flag up on the other side.

“We’ve got a Portuguese flag up at the moment, we’re due to have a German one, French and Spanish. What we’ve always said is ‘If you wanna put your flag up, as long as you’re in the Championships or the World Cup, get the flag and we’ll put it up for you.’”

Euro 2020
Chris Dowse said he and his neighbours will put up a flag for any team in the Euros or World Cup (Yui Mok/PA)

Mr Dowse said the football fever has also spread to a nearby estate where residents previously felt “left out”, so he and his neighbours have put up flags for them too.

“We’ve always had a positive reaction, we’ve always gone to the neighbours just to make sure they’re OK with us doing it, and if they don’t want a flag up we just won’t put one up,” he added.

“Online, we’ve had 98% positive comments, and then you get the odd idiot who wants to associate it with all sorts of stuff and it’s just not like that at all.”

Mr Dowse said the estate has already been visited by a few tourists from Portsmouth, and anyone else who wants to have a look is welcome to drop by.