DURING lockdown, many people have found celebrating different occasions can be rather lonely, particularly for those who are living on their own.

Valerie Lister from Harefield, Southampton, was set for a lonely lockdown birthday when she turned 90 last week.

But thanks to her neighbours, Val was able to celebrate with songs of the 1940s.

Neighbour Diane Butt heard that Val's sons could not be with her on her big day as one lives up north and the other in America.

Diane arranged for 18-year-old performer Katie-Ann Miles to set up outside Val's home in Blendworth Lane and sing a short set of some of Val's favourite tunes.

With all the necessary precautions, Diane laid on a cream tea, bunting and balloons, and other neighbours came outside to join in the celebration in the street.

Katie-Ann, a former Brockenhurst College student and established singer-songwriter from Langley, was able to travel to Harefield as restrictions eased just in time.

With a backing track, amp and microphone, she sang A Nightingale Sung In Berkeley Square, We'll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Katie said: "It was so nice to perform again.

"Val's 90th birthday was a lovely reason to get out and I was honoured to be asked."

Katie has often performed to raise funds for charity in recent years - but was recently on the receiving end of help herself.

Scores of people donated to a Crowdfunding project to get her home from New Zealand, where she was stranded in March barely a month in to what was to have been a year of travel before university.

"We were stuck in New Zealand and couldn't get a plane home for weeks," said Katie, who was travelling with her boyfriend.

"The flights kept getting cancelled, and the fare kept on rising until we were just unable to afford it.

"Someone set up a fund raiser for me and I couldn't believe how kind people were. It got us home a week later."