Jean Cockburn (93) and Irene Pickard (85) have been friends in Aysgarth for over 65 years and not even a pandemic can keep them apart, especially on the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
Jean slowly made her way into the centre of the village twice that day. The first time was after the National Moment of Remembrance for which she and many others stood at their doorsteps while the Last Post and Reveille were played on the speakers at Aysgarth Institute. She then joined Irene for a short walk and to sit and chat on the benches on the village green. There they watched children with their parents taking part in the Fairy Door Trail organised by James Metcalfe and which raised £30 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
At 3pm Winston Churchill’s Victory speech was played over the institute speakers. At 9pm Jean made her way into the village centre again – this time to join about 40 others who had gathered to listen to the Queen’s speech and We’ll Meet Again broadcast from the Institute. The activities were organised by Aysgarth Institute and social distancing was maintained.
Many had decorated their houses and windows for the occasion and these were judged by Steve Jack from Aysgarth Garage. He reported that it was not easy to judge the displays with slim margins between them but declared the winners of the best dressed house as Jane and Michel and those for the best dressed window as Max and Molly (ably assisted by their parents Rachel and Nick). Each winning household received a box of slimline Quality Street chocolates.
It all added up to a very sociable, enjoyable and memorable day.
Above: Jean (left) and Irene meeting each other at the village green — and then enjoying a suitably distanced chat (below).
Above: Irene and Derrick Pickard with their son David.
Below: Jean with her son Stuart just after the two-minute silence.
Above: the VE Day celebration display created by the Pickard family.
Below: Jill and James Metcalfe, with their son Richard above.
Above: Max and Molly (at back) who, like several other children in the village, had a great time decorating their homes (with a little help from their parents). Their efforts won them the prize for the best dressed VE Day window.
Above: Lily-Anne and Aiden.
Below: the window decorated by Charlotte and Abigail.
Above: Thomasina with her dad, Jason.
There were two French flags and the Welsh flag flying in the village that day – the former as the households had connections with France, such as Jane and Michel’s (below). Theirs won the competition for the best dressed VE Day house.
Below: And there were some who had been very busy that morning. Steve getting ready to deliver packed lunches prepared at the Hamilton’s Tea Shop to elderly people in mid Wensleydale.
Below: Scenes from around the village