An entire street held a party in their front gardens during the coronavirus lockdown – with police allowing it to continue because everyone was abiding by social-distancing rules.
Officers turned up to Southcoates Avenue in Hull after apparently being informed a “large house party” was under way.
But after arriving to see residents, young and old, dancing and singing in front of their homes as a DJ and singer blasted out a string of uplifting numbers, organisers say they were told they were “fine to continue”.
The event on Friday night was inspired by the now-weekly “clap for our carers” show of support each Thursday for NHS staff on the frontline of the struggle to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Primary school teacher Chris Marshall, who is a DJ and professional singer in his spare time, told Sky News how the party came about.
“It was put together by the local Facebook group initially, because there was concern that some of the elderly and vulnerable people may be suffering from the isolation,” he said.
“We’re quite lucky in that everyone has a walled off front garden.
“We’d all come out to clap for the carers on the previous Thursday and people were chatting over from their front gardens, and we were saying it’s a shame we can’t have a little front garden party.”
He said a message was posted on the local residents’ Facebook group to establish whether the idea was popular and the response showed huge support.
“I agreed to sing and DJ on the condition that people stayed in their front gardens and maintained social distancing,” he said.
Mr Marshall said people in the street requested he perform uplifting songs and sing-a-long numbers such as Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.
“I think one of the favourites was ‘I Want to Break Free’,” he added.
Mr Marshall said the event brought the street together, adding: “It was great. People were singing and dancing.
“You could see people bringing their furniture through to their front gardens.”
But he said he feared the worst when police arrived.
“A police car came crawling down the road and I thought ‘oh no, how is this going to look?’,” he said.
“The officer came up to me and said ‘I’ve never seen anything like this in my life’.
“He said they’d had reports of a large house party but that they weren’t expecting this.
“After a quick wander around he said ‘you’re not breaking any rules and you’re fine to carry on’. He told us ‘it’s nice to see people happy’.
“They even flashed the blue lights for the children as they left.”
He said no further events had been planned yet, but he felt the party had been a huge success.
:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
“For that brief moment, it was a real boost for everyone,” he said.
“We’re going through a lot at the moment and if we can work within the rules to bring people a bit of happiness, then we should do that.
“This has made connections that will last longer than all this will.”
Another resident of the street, Aaron Howlett, said the event had united households in the street.
“People you say ‘hi’ to each day are now much more,” he told Sky News.
“There is something very special happening amidst of the uncertainty which is extremely heartwarming.”
Humberside Police praised the officers involved for displaying common sense.
“Officers attended and spoke to a number of people, who were all in their front gardens with members of their own household and fully adhering to social distancing guidelines,” the force’s Chief Constable Lee Freeman said.
“Officers gave words of advice and requested the guidance was continued to be adhered to, and left the local community to safely make the most of enjoying their evening.
“There were no rules or guidance being breached and my officers dealt with this situation with the type of common sense that I and communities have been asking for.”