THE 75th anniversary of VE Day has been marked in style by Wharfedale and Aireborough’s communities.

Most of the big official events that had been organised around the country for Friday, May 8 had to be cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But local residents still found lots of ways - involving music, food and drink and, of course, plenty of Union flags - to celebrate the occasion while maintaining social distancing rules.

Otley Action for Older People’s (OAOP) Senior Inclusion Officer Catherine Greenwood came up with a tea party themed idea as part of the Time to Shine funded Connecting at the Weekend Project.

The initiative saw two OAOP volunteers, Neil and Janet, deliver 40 afternoon teas to the older residents of Lea Croft and Myers Croft.

Catherine said: “The baking was kindly donated by our volunteers while OAOP staff decorated the streets with bunting and invited people to sit outside their front doors.

“The volunteers also played 1940s music for them whilst they soaked up the sunshine.”

A local member of Ilkley & District U3A, Dorothy Lazarus, meanwhile created lots of bunting which was used to deck out Teal Beck House care home in Otley .

In Ilkley residents were treated to an at-home performance from jazz singer - and Ilkley Jazz Festival Director - Beverley Beirne.

Beverley sang from her balcony to neighbours and the residents of Abbeyfields, which stands opposite her house.

She said: “It was a strange experience stepping onto my balcony and not really knowing if anyone would be listening except my nearest neighbours.

“But after the first song I could hear everyone clapping and cheering and see people on their balconies and a couple dancing in the street.”

Beverley had been asked to perform by neighbours Katherine Halifax and Shirley O’Brien - Shirley was 11 years old at the time of the first VE (Victory in Europe) Day on May 8, 1945 - and she was presented with flowers and a card of thanks the following day.

Videos of the performance can be viewed on Beverley’s Facebook page.

Elsewhere on the day many residents, including householders on The Whartons and Wrenbeck Drive at Otley, held small ‘parties’ by meeting up with their neighbours while keeping their distance.

Others created their own little garden or widow displays so that Union flags could be seen mingled with the rainbow designs that have come to symbolise our support for the NHS.

And in Guiseley resident Steve Ellams took his display to the next level by setting up an impressive, museum-standard exhibit - featuring two ‘sitting’ uniformed figures and a giant Spitfire model - in his front garden.