Neighbours light up Stoke-on-Trent street for family unable to celebrate Diwali

A group of neighbours from an estate in Stoke-on-Trent embraced the true spirit of Diwali this year- even though only one family on the street normally celebrate the festival.

Becky Chubb is one resident from Pashmina Avenue in Barlaston. She says it was horrible to see her neighbours separated from loved ones and unable to hold big Diwali celebrations like they normally would.

She says everyone on the estate agreed they wanted to do something to show that they were thinking of the Rao family, so they decided to all put up lights.

Becky, 38, says all of the neighbours are very close (they have even nicknamed their street poncho place and refer to themselves as ponchovians!) and when the idea came about everyone was immediately on board.

They said they wanted to do something to show the family they recognised what it was like for them, and that they were there for them.

Most people living at Pashmina Avenue are health care workers or teachers. Becky says during the first lockdown everyone from the estate grew very close and they now rely on each other like never before.

She adds: "We've all been very honest with each other when feeling broken at times".

I live on my own and I honestly don't know what I would have done without them during lockdown. It's so nice knowing that you have your neighbours

Becky Chubb, Pashmina Avenue resident

Becky, who is a Consultant Psychiatrist, continued working in clinical settings during both lockdowns. She lives alone and says without her neighbours she would have struggled during the pandemic.

Consultant Narasimha Rao says his family was very "pleasantly surprised" when they realised what the street had done.

He says that it's just a tiny part of the community spirit that they feel every day.

In fact, the Rao family were so delighted with the surprise they dished out "Happy Diwali" goodie bags to the whole street.

The neighbours were so happy they gave out Diwali goodie bags to the whole street. Credit: Becky Chubb

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