IT was a birthday with a difference for one Southampton schoolgirl.

Sophia Thomas was expecting a quiet eighth birthday at home in Bitterne Park today as the country battles coronavirus.

But she hadn't bargained on her neighbours who took to the street for a mass singalong to happy birthday in her honour.

There were neighbours on their doorsteps and others with open windows all belting out a special message for the birthday girl.

Mum Alison told the Daily Echo: "I took her to play in the front garden as I knew from the street What's App group what they were planning and the next minute they burst into song. She was utterly overwhelmed, I've never seen her go so shy! She's normally very sassy, but she actually fell to the floor!

"What was going to be quite an uneventful birthday for her has turned into the best day ever."

Sophia had to have her party and a scheduled cinema trip cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, so her mum had put out an appeal on social media asking for birthday cards.

They had already been inundated with cards and colourings from friends and neighbours, but didn't expect the impromptu street performance to go viral.

Since posting the video on Facebook and Twitter Alison and husband Rob have been inundated with messages from all over the world. The family will spend the rest of Sophia's birthday speaking to media from as far afield as Tokyo.

"It didn't surprise me as it's such a friendly street. There's 20 houses and I could knock on any door at any time and ask anyone for anything," Alison added. "But it felt quite overwhelming and the response has been incredible. It's given everyone a real boost."