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Montreal-area community safely comes together to celebrate neighbour’s milestone birthday

Jeff Pennefather waves to his neighbours who came out to sing happy birthday. Monday, April 20, 2020.
Jeff Pennefather waves to his neighbours who came out to sing happy birthday. Monday, April 20, 2020. Karol Dahl/Global News

Montreal West resident, Jeff Pennefather turned 50 on Monday.

It’s a milestone birthday often punctuated by big parties and get-togethers, but that was before social distancing and COVID-19.

But Jeff’s wife, Lauren Pennefather, was determined to mark his birthday, one way or another, and managed to rally her neighbours for a little singalong.

READ MORE: Montreal-area family receives warning from police for holding birthday parade

Neighbours gathered on their front lawns while others gathered on the sidewalk across the street. Jeff’s mom was in her car while he stood speechless on his balcony, as everyone sang happy birthday.

“This is a very unique way of celebrating my birthday,” said Jeff, who admitted he was still a little bit speechless.

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Neighbours helped Jeff Pennefather celebrate a milestone birthday, from a safe distance. Monday, April 4, 2020.
Neighbours helped Jeff Pennefather celebrate a milestone birthday, from a safe distance. Monday, April 4, 2020. Karol Dahl/Global News

Lauren thanked her neighbours for going along with it all and helping to make Jeff’s birthday memorable.

“We live in an amazing community in Montreal West,” she said.

READ MORE: Montreal-area singer raises voice to lift seniors’ spirits amid pandemic

While the idea was to mark Jeff’s birthday, Lauren hopes giving her neighbours a reason to celebrate helped to lift their spirits too.

“I just want to say to everybody to keep positive,” she said.

“I know we’re going into six weeks of self-isolation but there’s always a rainbow at the end of the storm and to keep everyone’s spirits up and this was part of it. Giving a gift to ourselves and also to our community to celebrate.”

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