Whole street learn sign language to perform a song for girl with Down’s syndrome

A whole street learned sign language in less than a week to perform You’ll Never Walk Alone for a resident with Down’s syndrome.

Leah Bailey, 20, has been signing since she was a baby – it helps with her communication and allows her to express herself when she can’t find the words.

Neighbours from her street in Newport, Wales learned the language to perform Vera Lynn’s classic following the NHS clap.

It started with a small group of neighbours but before they knew it around 40 residents had begun learning how to sign.

It was neighbour Gemma Wallis’s idea after she was asked to play You’ll Never Walk Alone by Leah, who wanted to sign along to it.

But Gemma wanted to perform it to Leah instead and soon her household was on board.

Gemma set up a Facebook page to recruit more signers.

Leah and mum Edwina then began teaching residents how to sign the song using Makaton sign language.

This is simplified sign language designed to assist those with learning difficulties.

Edwina, 46, said: ‘We have been signing since she was a baby, signing is second nature to us.

‘All our neighbours and friends learned it from scratch; they’ve never done anything like this before.

‘I’d like to thank my wonderful neighbours for taking the time to learn it.’

It was thanks to Gemma’s Facebook page that the idea spread like wildfire.

She explained: ‘I was interested in signing it and so was my neighbour, then my husband and daughter learnt it too.’

Edwina said: ‘We knocked on houses and told them what we were doing and some said they would love to join in.’

Most of the residents have lived on the street for decades and this heart-warming act was a chance for the community to come together.

Edwina and her family have lived on the same street for 21 years.

The mum added: ‘Everyone knows and looks out for each other – times like these make you realise how special a community is.’

Leah said: ‘It was very emotional and I am so proud of everyone.’

The performance coincided with Colonel Tom Moore’s 100th birthday and the same week his song went number one with Michael Ball.

Edwina said: ‘It was brilliant that we were able to sign the song on Captain Tom Moore’s birthday, this made it extra meaningful.’

They even learned to sign ‘Happy birthday’ as a special tribute to Captain Tom.