Banbury neighbourhood comes together for special 80th birthday sing-along

Family, friends and neighbours came together to sing a special 'Happy Birthday' song to celebrate the 80th birthday for a Banbury man yesterday (Monday April 6).

By Matt Elofson
Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 9:35 am

Alan Butler has lived down Queens Road in Banbury for nearly 60 years. He's normally an active person, and a member of Vintage Motor cycle Club (VMCC). But he's been in isolation for three weeks now.

A Queens Road neighbour helped make the surprise birthday celebration happen after the lockdown from the coronavirus pandemic interupted the family's planned birthday celebrations.

Tim Tarby-Donald, Alan’s neighbour, set up the celebratory sing-along by sending a message to the family offering to organise the event with members of the street and a video link to family members who live away.

Alan Butler, who enjoyed a special 80th birthday sing-along by family, friends and neighbours

Tim set up the laptop for the video link to family members in Spain where Alan's son and daughter-in-law live, Scotland where his grandson, wife and great grandchildren live and Banbury for his granddaughter and grandson who are key workers.

Tim put balloons on a lamp post, there was cupcakes made from a neighbour, handmade cards from some of the children and a neighbour had an acoustic guitar for us to sing along with to “Happy Birthday."

Alan's daughter-in-law, Clare Butler, described the celebration and said: "When Garry, Alan’s son, phoned him to come to his front door because we had brought his presents and cards to him, he opened his door and a cheer came out from us all.

"He looked at the video link and saw his family's faces all there for him, Garry and I and our daughter, Jennifer, were all facing him and neighbours from up and down the street and at windows all sang and Alan’s face was filled with shock, happiness and love.

"He was unusually nearly speechless. He couldn’t stop saying thank you and waving at everyone. He didn’t know which way to turn. It was very much a family and friends party with social distancing and hygiene all in place. A young girl brought over a hot rice dish for him.

"I think Alan went in with tears in his eyes of emotion. He had such a busy day with plenty of calls wishing him happy birthday, he certainly didn’t feel isolated.

"For us as a family it was a wonderful memory of how much people think of Alan. We can celebrate his 80th birthday at a later date, so he will have two birthdays instead of one.

"We are all a very close family and not being able to hold the party that we wanted really upset us. We are very thankful to Tim for coming to us with this plan and its made the family really appreciate the fantastic neighbourhood he lives in."

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