Die-hard England fans gear up for Euro 2020 semi in ‘most patriotic street’

England fans at the Kirby Estate in Bermondsey, south-east London, may arguably be living on the most patriotic street ahead of the Euro 2020 semi-final.

The Three Lions will be watched by millions when they take on Denmark at Wembley, hoping to secure a place in the final against Italy on July 11.

Their campaign so far, which has seen Gareth Southgate’s boys not concede a goal all tournament, has sparked a wave of euphoria

But it may be felt strongest in south-east London as one estate has covered the area in hundreds of St George’s flags.

Images shared by MyLondon ahead of their first game – a 1-0 win against Croatia on June 13 – show them on every wall and window in the area in waves of white and red.

It is all down to two ‘flag ninjas’ in Chris Dowse and Alan Putman, who were up at 7am in the morning when Euro 2020 started and had all the flags up by 9am.

And the latter has got into the spirit today, wearing a crusading knight’s outfit while a horse and carriage is pulled through the estate.

The patriotic gesture started ahead of the same competition nine years ago in a competition between Putman, 52, and fellow estate resident Geraldine Howard decided to have a competition.

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With just the two flags out, though, his friend Dowse decided to up the ante.

He told MyLondon: “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.

“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 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.

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“A lot of it goes up overnight so the estate wakes up to it.”

The flags were so successful at getting residents involved for Euro 2012 that it was expanded to the neighbouring estate six years later for the World Cup.

It has seen Dowse invest his own money in flags, originally buying 175 for just £50 from the Poundshop as other residents have now had personalised ones made.

They will all be watching in the main courtyard of the Kirby Estate, with the residents cheering on the Three Lions.

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