Hilsea street turns red, white and blue to mark VE Day during lockdown party

CHILDREN celebrated VE Day in style as a road in Hilsea pulled together to stage a ‘socially-distanced’ street party.

Friday, 8th May 2020, 5:31 pm
Updated Friday, 8th May 2020, 6:08 pm
VE Day celebrations at Peronne Road, Portsmouth. Pictured: Polly McRichards with her children, Dylan 7, Sonnie 4 and Alfie 2. Picture: Habibur Rahman

More than a dozen families in Perrone Road decked their homes in the red, white and blue of the Union Flag to honour the 75th anniversary of the end of war in Europe.

Neighbours staged party games for children on driveways and in gardens, with everything from penalty shoot-outs and hopscotch, to darts, archery and water balloon throwing.

The effort was the brainchild of Nicki Crowhurst, who sent out an appeal to neighbours on WhatsApp.

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Sarah Emery, Harry 8 and Jack 3 outside their home Picture: Habibur Rahman

The 49-year-old HR consultant was stunned by the turnout and said: ‘This has brought the whole community of the street together in a way I didn’t think would ever happen, it’s been amazing.

‘Children have been making their way up the street to try all the games. They’ve had real fun.’

The festivities started by most of the street coming out to mark the national two-minute silence from their front garden at 11am. They also cheered bin men as they collected rubbish on their daily rounds.

Games were all strictly monitored by parents to ensure social distancing rules weren’t breached, with plenty of anti-bacterial wipes on hand to clean items like darts.

Denise Barlow with her two-metre social distance stick. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Parent Hugh Arthur, 44, said his girls had loved every minute of the commemoration – and had learned a vital lesson about history and community.

‘The kids have been learning about the sacrifices that people made during the war, which has been so important,’ he said.

‘We can’t let future generations ever forget this. My children’s granddad fought during the war with the RAF. But sadly he can’t be here today.’

Peronne Road is steeped in military history – it is named in honour of Australian soldiers who fought in the French town of Péronne during the First World War and it is the home to a number of army reserve bases.

Lisa Dooler with her daughter Willow, four, outside their home. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Denise Barlow, 65, has lived in the street for more than a decade and has been fascinated by its military links.

Speaking of the VE Day celebrations, she added: ‘It’s been absolutely wonderful. Since the lockdown began we have set up a messenger group that’s brought us all closer together.

‘We have all been looking after each other as neighbours. It’s been lovely to see.’

The Arthur family outside their home in Peronne Road, Hilsea Picture: Habibur Rahman
VE Day celebrations at Peronne Road, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman