FAMILY and friends who had to cancel a Second World War veteran’s big 100th birthday bash because of Covid-19 ensured he still got to celebrate the landmark date.

Frederick Herron was treated to a performance of wartime classics by singer Deborah Taylor-Smith, known as Wor Vera, when he turned 100-years-old today.

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Mr Herron’s neighbours in Quaking Houses, near Stanley, County Durham, had planned to watch from the safety of their own front steps.

But when it began to rain heavily, the plan was hastily changed.

The nearby village hall was opened up, decorations put up and chairs spread out 2m apart so a few neighbours could join his party, whilst observing social distancing rules.

Wife Joycelyne and the couple's daughters Joycelyn Young and Maureen Chambers, were there to ensure he had a great time.

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Flags were waved, people joined in with the singing and Mr Herron even got up to dance along to the music.

Durham County Councillor and Mayor of Stanley Carole Hampson said: “After the family had to cancel its plans the community wanted to celebrate with Frederick but stay safe.

"It was just going to be in the street but was carefully moved inside because of the weather.

“Turning 100 is a big occasion in someone’s life and as a veteran people wanted to thank him for his service.

"Wor Vera was wonderful and there was a lovely atmosphere.”

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Mr Herron was a 20-year-old grocer when he signed up for the RAF to help the war effort, initially based in northern Scotland defending the area during Nazi bombing raids.

Rising to become a corporal, he went on to serve in India for three years, packing and flying supplies to troops all over the world, and fought the invading Japanese in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

After six years in the RAF and away from home, Mr Herron was demobbed in 1946.

He went back to being a grocer before going on to work at Consett Steelworks until his retirement in 1979.

In 2012, he made a commemorative visit to Asia with his wife.

Ms Taylor-Smith is well on her way to reaching her target of performing outside 100 care homes in the North-East, during the coronavirus pandemic.

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