The flag of St George is now flying proudly above a stunning focal point in the centre of Newcastle-under-Lyme to celebrate England reaching the final of a major football tournament for the first time in 55 years.

England has made the final of the UEFA European Football Championship after beating semi-final rivals Denmark 2-1 in a nail-biting, extra time clash at Wembley on Wednesday 7 July.

Council Leader Simon Tagg has raised England’s national flag outside Castle House, in the award winning Queen’s Gardens, in honour of Gareth Southgate’s team who play Italy on Sunday 11 July.

The English national flag – which the Council uses every year to celebrate St George’s Day and to mark other national events – replaces the Union Jack and will remain in place until Monday 12 July.

Council Leader Simon Tagg with St. George’s flag

Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “Three years after England reached the semi-finals in the World Cup, here we are going one better by reaching the final of a major football tournament for the first time since 1966. I am pleased to hoist the St. George’s flag so it flies proudly outside the Council’s main offices in the Queen’s Gardens as Gareth Southgate and the England players go for glory against Italy.

“In Newcastle-under-Lyme we’re proud of our town and proud of our country so it’s fantastic that we’re flying the English flag to get behind our national football team at this hugely exciting time. It’s nice to have something like this to look forward to, especially after the tough time we’ve all gone through. Football is coming home! I hope everyone enjoys themselves safely and responsibly in the build up to the final on Sunday.”

England progressed through the Euros – which has involved 24 sides – conceding only one goal, enjoying earlier wins against Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany and the Ukraine.

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