A 94-YEAR-OLD woman from Wallingford was surprised with a birthday party on her doorstep organised by her support volunteers.

Alice White has been a part of the Wallingford community for 56 years and has been in isolation since the beginning of the lockdown.

But she has been supported over the past ten weeks by Wallingford2020 volunteer Tracey Garrett and the two of them have developed a warm friendship.

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Wallingford2020 volunteers help people who have been isolated by the lockdown with food shopping and friendly chats.

Group leader Jacqui Bradney said: “Alice is quite a character.

"What we do here at Wallingford2020 is we match a volunteer to somebody so they stay with them throughout the process and from time to time Alice gives the helpline a call thinking that she is ringing her volunteer: she likes to chat.

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"I got to know her as well as her volunteer Tracy. She called me, and she was a little bit sad that she couldn’t have her family round and have a bit of a party and celebrate her birthday with her friends.”

When she told Wallingford2020 co-ordinator Ms Bradney that her birthday was coming up, and that she was sad not to be able to share it with friends and family, a seed was sown, and the group decided to give her a birthday surprise.

On May 24, Ms White was surprised with balloons, cards and cakes all donated to her by members of the community and presented to her by the town’s mayor Lee Upcraft.

Her volunteer Tracy Garrett coaxed her out into the sunshine to enjoy her gifts.

Wallingford musician Maff Potts was on hand at the keyboard to play Happy Birthday as well-wishers from the group, all at a safe distance, sang to celebrate her birthday. As a special request, Ms White asked for everyone to sing along to ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

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Ms White said afterwards that she was over the moon to have a keyboard player at her birthday surprise as she, too, used to play.

Ms Bradney said: “It was a lovely chance to make somebody's day, because she was shielding, and she hadn’t been out to see anybody. She wasn’t aware of the surprise and she was just blown over by it.”

She added: “It was a lovely thing to do and it just mirrors there is a lot of this activity going on in Wallingford with our volunteers and a lot of them have gone above and beyond what we set out to achieve.”

Ms White regularly speaks to Ms Garrett, her dedicated volunteer, and Ms Bradney, and said she was very touched to have had such dedicated help over the past weeks

Ms White said: “It was a wonderful surprise – Tracey has looked after me so well and I’m really very grateful for everything. I’m just finding it really hard not to hug everybody as a thank you. When things get back to normal, I’ll be inviting everybody around for tea and cake.”