A FORMER mayor of Basingstoke got the shock of his life as his street turned out in droves to celebrate his birthday last week.

Derick Mirfin turned 90 on July 23 and was just planning on having dinner with a few friends to celebrate.

But the people of Winchester Street had something different in mind for the much-loved Overton resident as they decided to throw him a surprise celebration.

"It was a very successful conspiracy," the former borough councillor joked.

"It would seem Overton is one of the most secure places to keep a secret. I had absolutely no idea what was going on.

Basingstoke Gazette:

From Derick Mirfin's days as mayor

Derick moved to Overton with his wife in 1972 and moved to Winchester Street in 1977 - where he has lived for the past 43 years.

The week prior to the surprise event, Derick had a celebration surrounded by his family, but when the big day finally came, all he was expecting were a few cards and the odd smile here or there.

"I didn’t think there would be anything in the village,"he added.

"I came outside and there was this giant balloon with 90 on it and within five minutes the street was full with neighbours.

"Fortunately I had changed out of my gardening clothes."

He served as a councillor from 1985 to 2002 as well as being the first Liberal Democrat to serve as Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane in 1998/1999.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Derick was very much a part of the completion of the main fabric of the Milestone Museum but found his greatest satisfaction in being able to contribute to the concert hall project as a founding member of The Anvil Trust.

He added that he could not have wished for a better surprise.

"The secret was kept brilliantly," he finished.

"If MI5 are looking to recruit, just come to Overton."