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Street celebrates man’s 99th birthday after travel ban scuppers family party

PUBLISHED: 16:30 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:57 30 April 2020

Charles Read celebrated his 99th birthday with members of the Onehouse community after his family party was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. Picture: ANDREW SYKES

Charles Read celebrated his 99th birthday with members of the Onehouse community after his family party was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. Picture: ANDREW SYKES

Archant

Champagne, birthday cake and fish and chips were on the menu as dozens of people in Onehouse came out to help celebrate their neighbour’s 99th birthday.

Neighbours came out to wish Charles Read a happy birthday. Picture: ANDREW SYKESNeighbours came out to wish Charles Read a happy birthday. Picture: ANDREW SYKES

Charles Read usually spends his birthday with his family, who jet in from across the world to join him on his special day.

Sadly, this year his daughter, Heather Jones, could not make the trip from her Essex home due to social distancing guidelines.

Her brother in America and sister in Luxembourg were also forced to stay away due to travel restrictions.

However, the community made sure the 99-year-old got the chance to celebrate his special day on Saturday, April 25 with as many people as possible.

Charles Read got a big birthday surprise from the Onehouse community. Picture: ANDREW SYKESCharles Read got a big birthday surprise from the Onehouse community. Picture: ANDREW SYKES

Mr Read’s live-in carer, Sarah Welch, and community helper Andrew Sykes decided to hold a party and invite his neighbours to take part.

His daughter, Mrs Jones said: “Onehouse has such a fantastic, tight knit community. They run a taxi service for those who need help and hold coffee mornings.

“Andrew and Sarah came up with the idea because we couldn’t have the family party with him, so they asked if the neighbours would come out and sing him happy birthday.

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“Sarah brought out the champagne and cake and dad sat out there for over an hour whilst his neighbours came out and gave him several renditions of happy birthday.”

Around 35 of Mr Read’s neighbours came to see him for his birthday treat.

But the celebration didn’t stop there.

Following a big family video chat, the Suffolk resident had his favourite fish and chips which he had requested especially.

Mrs Jones said: “He was waving and opened cards and took part in the singing. It was absolutely wonderful. He was very appreciative.

“It was lovely for us all to see he was still able to have a birthday party.

“We are all extremely grateful for Andrew and Sarah they decorated the garden the house and he requested fish and chips that night, so it was really good.”


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