Local Pennington Veteran Bill celebrates turning 95 on VE Day amidst Pennington Stay at Home Street

    The Good News Feed
    5 May 2020

    On Friday 8th May, alongside national celebrations, Pennington is holding its very own stay at home Street Party. Local Pink Vicar, Revd Rachel Noël will be leading a local event on youtube.

    The event features children from local schools Pennington Infants School and Pennington Church of England Junior School, alongside the Town Mayor and Councillors, members of the Royal British Legion and other locals. They will be sharing readings, sing-a-long songs and prayers to mark this special occasion.

    Town and District Councillor for Pennington, and former Army officer Andrew Gossage said “We were so disappointed that the events we had been planning locally cannot safely take place this time. I am delighted that our local community is celebrating VE Day with numerous events during the day and seeing “Pennington Stands Together” to mark this national occasion in a unique Pennington way. I encourage Pennington residents to use this day to celebrate a hard won victory 75 years ago and to show that, once again, we are doing the same today: to beat the virus. Once again, my heartfelt thanks to Revd Rachel for all her hard work in organising the Pennington event programme.”

    It’s also local War Veteran, Bill Matthews 95th Birthday on Friday 8th May. Bill served during World War II, and is a regular supporter of Remembrance events and other commemorations locally. Reverend Rachel said, “We were delighted when Bill agreed to be part of our local online celebration. His granddaughter, Emma, filmed Bill, who was determined to wear his military uniform to take part in this event, whilst she was caring for him at home.”

    Emma Drodge, Bills granddaughter, said “We are so proud of Bill and all that he contributes to our local community. On his birthday, whilst the local event is taking place online, British Legion standard bearers will stand outside Bill’s house to wish him a very special happy 95th birthday.”

    Revd Rachel’s friend Dave Desmond, formerly Sergeant Major with 23 years serving in the Coldstream Guards Band, is supporting the event, recording a fabulous happy birthday to Bill, on his trombone.

    If you’d like to send Bill a birthday card, please send it to Bill's birthday, c/o The Vicarage, 29 Ramley Road, Pennington, SO41 8HF and we'll make sure they get to him.

    There will be a National 2 minute silence at 1100am. After the local online event at 1:30pm, everyone across Pennington and Lymington is invited to go out onto the pavement at 2:20pm and to make a noise to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the declaration of surrender, and to sing happy birthday to Bill! Afterwards, all are invited to have a stay at home street party, to picnic in their front gardens and Toast the Nation at 3pm, ensuring they stay at a safe distance from their neighbours. You can find out more about the National events on the day at

    Everyone is invited to wear something red, white or blue, to decorate our homes and hedges and to celebrate the day. And yes, our vicar, known for wearing Docs, will be wearing Union Jack DMs to mark the occasion! Rev Rachel Noël said “We’ve been using our Churchyard hedge this season, with our #CrochetThroughCorona flowers and Easter Story already on the hedge. For VE75, we’re adding poppies, doves and bunting, all made locally, to help people mark this event, and to encourage people whilst on their daily exercise.”

    Photocredit – RenoufDesign - ©