Die hard fans get in line

“PEOPLE think we're crazy and we are.”He may not be the most fashionable music star in the world, but Daniel O'Donnell is a man who has some of the most loyal fans there could be.

“PEOPLE think we're crazy and we are.”

He may not be the most fashionable music star in the world, but Daniel O'Donnell is a man who has some of the most loyal fans there could be.

Whenever tickets for the Irish singer's regular appearances at the Regent Theatre go on sale, there is a ritual that accompanies such an event.

In the early hours of the days leading up to the opening of ticket sales a queue slowly starts to form - and in the hours before sales begin that queue will have grown in length and gradually begun to snake its way further and further down the road.

Clad in fleeces and armed with blankets, flasks of tea and comfy deckchairs, the army of Daniel O'Donnell's most dedicated fans reassembles once again.

Mostly women, these fans will only see each other once a year or even less if their idol isn't touring, but there are friendships made here that are rekindled and brought back to life thanks to their one common aim - getting the best seats in the house.

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Tickets for O'Donnell's concert dates at the Regent in September didn't go on sale until this morning but the first fans had staked their place in the queue just as the clock ticked through from Thursday night into Friday morning.

First to arrive were sisters Linda Colman, 56, and Mandy Talbot, 59. The pair had travelled from Norwich and Diss to and arrived at the Regent at midnight.

“We like him so much and just want to see him. We have been doing this for about 20 years,” said Linda.

“We've been doing this for about 20 years and it's all very good natured. We were the first ones here and it can be a bit intimidating when there are groups of young lads about so it's nice when the other fans start to arrive.”

Val Sheldrick, 48, from Chantry, was one of the next to arrive and set up her chair at 5.30am on Friday.

“We enjoy the queuing, we all get to know each other and have sat out together in rain and all sorts,” she said.

“We take it in turns to go into the town through the day and look out for each other - you don't lose your place in the queue once you've got it!”

Just like last year, Val's place in the queue was next to husband and wife team Ron and Ruth Brett who had left their home in Cambridge at 3.45am on Friday to join the Ipswich queue - something they have been doing since 1994.

“We come every year, we enjoy the show and wouldn't miss it,” said Mrs Brett, 58.

“You have a lot of fun with the other fans and we have seen Daniel perform at the Royal Albert Hall and at Wembley, and we've travelled to Brentwood to queue there as well.”

Cold, tired but also very happy to finally get their tickets, these fans will have been the first through the doors when the Regent opened its box office this morning - and will probably be the first through the doors when Daniel makes their wait worthwhile in September.

Are you a huge Daniel O'Donnell fan? What's the longest you've ever queued for tickets to see a show? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Real name: Daniel Francis Noel O Donnell

Date of birth: December 12 1961

Born: Dungloe, Co Donegal, Ireland

Marital status: Married to Majella

Lives: Kincasslagh, Co Donehal, Ireland

Words of wisdom: “I got very little encouragement when I started out because people thought that my music was from a bygone era and had no relevance or place in the world today. I felt they were wrong and I was right because I have succeeded in doing what I wanted to do.”