Neighbours of a grandmother isolating at home amid the coronavirus epidemic gathered outside her window to leave presents and sing her a surprise rendition happy birthday last week.

Banstead mum Karen Martins told the Comet how her mother Ann lives alone in Brixton Hill after the passing of her husband  and was growing increasingly concerned about spending a first birthday alone.

"My family have lived in Brixton Hill since pre-war days. Our Dad passed away in November and we were concerned about my mum.

"She has CIDP (Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) and we've been really worried because of the self isolation.

"It was her birthday and she was a bit sad because we couldn't go and it was the first time she was going to spend it alone," Karen said.

Fortunately others were on hand to make sure Ann's special day was a happy one.

In a touching moment that reflected similar shows of solidarity from around the world during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, the community turned out for Ann in isolation and brought the good vibes to her instead.

One of those involved in forging the birthday surprise was Barney Guiton, a resident in the Brixton Hill area.

"A couple of days ago I started a Facebook group and someone else started a Whatsapp group for the neighbourhood during the virus.

"David from the group found out that it was this lady Ann's birthday and she was going to be alone, so we put a message on the group and got together within an hour," he said.

Cards drawn by kids of the grown-ups involved were taken to her door, along with some presents including chocolates, before the group sang Happy Birthday.

Barney pointed out that the gesture was very much a group effort — neighbours who had not previously shared much before the Covid-19 outbreak.

"Everyone was really keen to get involved. The whole experience has felt really good to connect with neighbours and make something positive out this," Barney said.

"In the two years before this I'd barely spoken to others on our street and now we're messaging all the time.

"I'm glad we got to do something nice for Ann on her birthday," he added.

Speaking to the Comet afterwards, Karen described her own joy at finding out:

"I was brought us to tears, it was so touching. She phoned me up yesterday and said 'you're not going to believe what's happened'.

"They took her presents, all the kids wrote cards and brought her chocolates.

"And then they rang her doorbell and all sang Happy Birthday to her.

" I just thought it was the nicest thing in times like these with everything that's going on. It's unbelievable, it restored my faith," she said.