COLOURFUL couple Martin and Sharon Baker are certainly flying the flag for their unusual hobby.
For the pair are up, up and away when it comes to showing off their true colours by running up a huge collection of flags from around the globe outside their home.
And what started out as a bit of fun has now become a real talking point in the couple’s village and beyond with letters and calls pouring in about the weird and wonderful flags which can be found fluttering in the breeze at their Barnby Dun home.
Said Sharon: “There is barely a day goes past without someone getting in touch to ask about the flag we’ve got outside. We get letters just addressed to “the flagman” and people knocking on the door asking us to put flags up or asking why we’ve got something flying. It really is amazing how its taken off.”
The couple’s flag fascination began in 2008 when self-employed salesman Martin realised a long-held dream to erect a flagpole outside his home when a nearby garage was disposing of its poles.
“I went round, dug it up and put in the garden with the intention of using it to fly my Leeds United flag,” he said. “And since then, it has just spiralled into all sorts of other flags.”
Martin, 52, a Leeds season-ticket holder, was then given a United Nations flag by a neighbour who used to work for the organisation and followed up his football fanatacism with England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales flags to fly on the appropriate national days. He then went one step further by displaying flags for birthdays, Christmas and Easter.
Now he has almost 70 different designs, all filed alphabetically along with a list of national days and key dates - with suggestions for flags to be flown flooding in from across Doncaster and friends and family buying new additions as presents.
In recent months, Martin and Sharon, of Station Road, have flown flags for the Olympics, Yorkshire Day, Gay Pride, the Armed Forces, pirate flags, the Union flag for the Diamond Jubilee and even a rare tribal flag from Libya.
“People are always stopping up to look what flag we have got up and one occasion, a South Korean woman visiting relatives in the area saw her national flag in the garden and knocked on the door, thinking we were fellow Koreans,” said Sharon, 50.
“It is a really talking point and people want to get involved.”
And while none of the flags have ever landed the couple in hot water, Martin says there are certain flags he won’t fly.
“I’ll never have another football club other than Leeds,” he said. “People have joked that when we go away on holiday they’ll come round and put a Chelsea, Manchester United or Doncaster Rovers flag up - but it hasn’t happened - yet.”