Bideford woman hopes to share 40th birthday party with Gary Barlow

North Devon Gazette

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A Bideford woman is making a last ditch plea for Gary Barlow to make a surprise visit to her 40th birthday party.

Rachel Pusey, from Londonderry, has been campaigning for five months for the Take That star to appear at her party – a secret location in Barnstaple – on July 22.

Ever since the singer announced on Twitter in March that he would be attending a number of milestone birthdays this year, mum-of-three Rachel has been raising her hopes.

“I would really love him to come, now that it is getting closer and everyone’s so excited,” she said.

“I want him to come as much for the guests as for me because they’ve helped so much in the campaign.”

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Rachel Pusey, from Bideford, with a lifesize cut-out of her idol, Take That star Gary Barlow. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Rachel, who works at Colour Distributors in East-the-Water, said she’d been a big fan of Take That from the beginning and had seen them several times in concert, but had never met Gary.

“My favourite songs have to be Do What You LikeA Million Love Songs and Greatest Day as that’s the one he sings at the milestone parties,” she said.

“I think Gary is a lovely person, especially to his fans – he surprises us all the time and when he announced he was doing milestone birthdays, I went ‘I’m going for it’.”

Rachel has been battling against thousands of other fans, making thousands of posters, sending the star around 100 tweets a day, and heading out and about with a lifesize cardboard cut-out of her idol.

Her online petition – Help me get Mr Gary Barlow to sing at my 40th – has so far attracted 224 signatures.

“I’m in it to win it,” she said.

“I send him lots of messages – hundreds so far – and I’ve done 16,000 tweets; I try and do roughly 100 or more a day,” she added.

“At first my family thought I was crazy, but as the campaign progressed they were like ‘ah actually she’s really serious about it’.

“I’m trying to convince myself that he isn’t coming, and remember that I’m celebrating my 40th with my family and friends. But if he does come, it will be a bonus, the icing on the cake.”

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Pilton Festival is back this weekend

North Devon Gazette

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Pilton Green Man 2014. Picture: Andy KeeblePilton Green Man 2014. Picture: Andy Keeble

Pilton Green Man Festival is back on Saturday, illuminating the streets of Barnstaple with light and colour.

Proceedings will begin with the vibrant procession dancing its way down the High Street, launching from Barnstaple Square at 11am, with the popular pageant featuring the Green Man in the grounds of Pilton House at 12 noon and 3pm.

En-route, the parade will pause and applaud in memory of the late Albert Linacre, Laurie Wedge and Dave Butt, who have all played key parts in organising the festival over the years.

As usual, a wealth of local musical talent will be performing all day from 10am across three stages on Pilton Street, in addition to an open mic stage in the grounds of Pilton House.

Pilton Green Man 2014. Picture: Andy KeeblePilton Green Man 2014. Picture: Andy Keeble

Acts on the bottom stage include up and coming talent from Pilton Community College and The Stolen Page, as well as Sam Dowden on the middle stage and folk band Rakes Adrift on the top stage.

Pilton Arts Group will again be opening its studios at the top of Pilton Street, exhibiting works from more than 40 entrants from 10am until 4pm.

A new feature this year will be a local author’s book stand, where the public will be able to meet the likes of local crime novelist Ruth Downie and children’s author Rosie Godfrey.

Also on offer is local food from a street market and outlets such as Monty’s Caribbean Kitchen, drinks from the beer and Pimms tents, charity stalls and children’s activities.

Festival organiser Martin Haddrill said: “It’s a community festival for Pilton, celebrating local people and heritage and we hope that everyone enjoys it.”

He added that the Green Man Day is dedicated to keeping the area green, and therefore encourages all to avoid bringing glass bottles and dispose of any litter in the bins provided.

* For the full programme go to http://www.piltonfestival.co.uk

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