As football fans await the World Cup semi-final between England and Croatia, youngsters in Redbridge got into the spirit by encouraging shoppers to get behind the players.

The East Ilford Betterment Partnership, which works on behalf of disadvantaged families, took to the streets to hand out St George’s flags and paint flags on people’s faces.

It comes after a Sikh shopkeeper in Ilford was reportedly told to remove St George’s flags from his store in a racist letter.

A spokesman for EIBP said it was “disappointed” to hear about “the anger that the England flag displayed on some shops in Ilford induced”.

He added: “Fortunately for us, the buzz in the town centre was different and people were game for the face-painting and shared stories of great expectation.

“With the England team doing so well, it became a no brainer for the EIBP to design a World Cup programme.

“While children and adults were having small and large England flags painted onto their hands and faces, English anthems and songs were played in the background to encourage people to get behind the team.”

“People across the nation are getting really excited and national pride is gaining momentum, spurred on by the men representing us on the field.”