The Wokingham Paper

Twyford community join together to celebrate villager’s 50th birthday

Helen Ferguson smiles next to a car covered in bunting to mark her birthday.

A TWYFORD woman was overwhelmed with birthday messages over the weekend, as the community wished her a happy 50th. 

Helen Ferguson thought she was going for her one, Government approved walk on Sunday, April 5. 

But her family had surprised her with a secret trail of birthday messages. 

She said: “It was an overwhelming surprise to have a three-mile walk around Twyford seeing my birthday being celebrated.

“There were over 40 displays, some were sheets in the window, entire window decorations, a car covered in bunting with a number plate changed to Helen50, balloons and there was even a box of chocolates hanging from the tree.

“My family sent a poster out to everyone in the street in secret. And people played music and came out and sang happy birthday. 

“It was just so lovely that the neighbourhood did this — everybody felt connected.

“I felt surprised, shocked, overwhelmed and a bit tearful too. I was just amazed at the efforts of everybody.

Helen celebrated her 50th with a surprises trail of birthday wishes around the village.

“Over the last couple of weeks, everybody has had to adjust and rebalance. To have something so heartwarming made me so happy, and it helped lots of other people living alone to feel connected to something.”

Mrs Ferguson was amazed at her family’s ability to plan such a huge surprise without giving it away. 

“I don’t know how they managed it, we’re all on lockdown together,” she said. “I guess they must have printed the posters when I went for a run.

“And then the night before, they said they were wrapping presents in the garage but I think they were out delivering the posters.”

But Mrs Ferguson attributes the success of the day not just to her husband and children, but the people of Twyford. 

“This is about the community. My family had no idea they would make it what it was,” she added. 

“What a great surprise it was during this awful time — they came to their windows to clap and cheer and my neighbour with dementia came out on her driveway to sing Happy Birthday’ with her carer too.

“The local people have been amazing and people not formally joining in, soon did, asking if I was the mysterious Helen and then wishing me happy birthday too.”

Neighbours decorated the front of their houses with balloons and banners to make the day extra special.

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