A FLAG for almost every occasion flies from a home in Lynchmere.
David Sellar, 81, has collected around 18 flags, all of which he flies on separate occasions – often to the pleasure of passers-by.
The former geography teacher and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society retired in 1991 and now the flagpole outside his home in Lynchmere Road is often proudly displaying a particular flag for the day.
“The idea grew and my children and grandchildren added to the flags I’ve got,” he said.
“I’ve got about 18 now. Things like the American union and American Confederate flag.”
In addition, he has flags including the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, England, Wales, Scotland, France and the Cornish flag.
“I must be about the only Englishman in the country that flies the Republic of Ireland flag,” he laughed.
Mr Sellar was a PE teacher after he did national service and attended university in London.
He taught at schools in London and Surrey.
“After that, I ended up at Woolmer Hill School for 31 years from 1960 to 1991,” he said.
“I was head of PE to start with then head of geography.”
Around 1985, he was visited at the Haslemere school by a Brigadier, whose daughter attended the school and had become hooked on geography.
“When she was leaving he brought over this book with all the flags of all the nations inside and presented it to me,” remembered Mr Sellar.
This was one of the stimuli for his passion for flags and nations.
After he retired, he went on a world tour with his wife Vera. The couple have been married for 58 years.
Later on, one of his four children suggested he get a flagpole for his garden.
“I was trying to think of something for my birthday present and I thought: ‘What a lovely idea’,” he said.
All the flags get an airing and this week he has flown the Sussex flag, in honour of Sussex Day.
“We’re just within the boundary down to the river then we meet Hampshire and Surrey,” he said.
He added: “I always try to recognise days: Sussex Day, Saint Andrew, Saint Patrick, St George.”
He said the collecting of the flags had ‘gradually grown’ on him, but he had always been interested in the different flags and nations of the world.
Following this interest his daughter bought him an atlas of the world last year, which he said was so heavy he could hardly carry it.
Published by the Royal Geographical Society, Mr Sellar said: “It’s got everything in it.”
Within the book there was an offer to join the society. “I thought: ‘That’s quite a good idea’ – so I sent off for an application.”
They immediately sent him another form, with an invitation which came as a great surprise to Mr Sellar.
The society told him that with his qualifications they would like to make him a fellow of the society.
“I was absolutely delighted with that,” he said.
So now, with FRGS after his name, Mr Sellar continues to proudly fly whichever flag is appropriate from his home, although he thinks his collection is unlikely to grow any bigger.
“I think I’ve more or less got the ones I wanted,” he said.