Old friends mark VE Day anniversary in Dales village

From left, friends Irene Pickard and Jean Cockburn. Photo: Pip Pointon.

Ninety three-year-old Jean Cockburn and Irene Pickard, 85, have been friends in Aysgarth for more than 65 years and not even a pandemic can keep them apart, especially on the 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 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 residents had decorated their houses and windows for the occasion and these were judged by Steve Jack from Aysgarth Garage.

He reported that there were very slim margins between the displays.

The winners received boxes of slimline Quality Street chocolates.

It all added up to a very sociable, enjoyable and memorable day.