March 17 2014 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
A stunned music fan Barry Holden, from North Walsham, had the “Surprise Surprise” of his life after being hoodwinked into starring on a TV show where he got to hug and chat with rock legend Rod Stewart.
And there may be an even greater surprise ahead for North Walsham after rocker Rod promised on air to appear as guest of honour at one of Mr Holden’s charity gigs in the north Norfolk market town.
Mr Holden, 68, of Birds Road, North Walsham, had been secretly nominated to appear on ITV’s Surprise Surprise show by his granddaughter Daisy Kerry, 13.
She wanted the world to know about the £45,000-plus her granddad has raised for children’s charities in the past 30 years through his annual Live Aid rock gigs in North Walsham Community Centre.
Believing he was just one of the audience, Mr Holden was amazed to be dragged to the stage by show host Holly Willoughby who then explained his fund-raising feats to the audience.
They began in 1986 following the Ethiopian famine and resumed annually following the 2004 Boxing Day Asian tsunami.
A major feature of the Live Aid concerts is an auction of rock memorabilia which Mr Holden persuades stars to sign whenever he is at one of their concerts.
In 2011, when Rod Stewart played Norwich City FC’s Carrow Road ground, Mr Holden had been disappointed that tight security meant he could not reach the star with his autograph materials.
So tears flowed when Rod Stewart walked on to the Surprise Surprise stage, embraced Mr Holden and then sat and chatted.
He autographed a guitar for him and Mr Holden also went home with a signed platinum disc of Stewart’s latest album “Time” - and Rod sang a song from it which he dedicated to Mr Holden.
During the meeting Mr Holden asked Rod if he would be free on April 19 - the date of the next Live Aid.
The star replied by saying he would like to be guest of honour at one of his charity gigs.
“I was only joking when I asked about the date - but he said that on air and it was broadcast!” said retired jeweller Mr Holden. “I will definitely be getting in contact about it and I hope we can get him to North Walsham at some point in the future.
“I was in utter shock - absolutely stunned after the show. I couldn’t take it in. When I woke up in the hotel room the next morning it was only the signed guitar in the corner that made me realise it hadn’t all been a dream!”
After the show, which was recorded in September but broadcast this month, Mr Holden and his wife Chris chatted with Rod and his wife Penny Lancaster in the studio Green Room and he gave them four tickets to his gig in the O2 Arena later that month.
And after that show, Mr Holden was invited back stage where he met Rod again.
He told the star that he had first seen him in a concert at Heacham in about 1960 when Rod had been introduced as a new singer by Long John Baldry.
And Mr Holden’s band the Hucklebucks once supported The Small Faces, some of whose members went on to form The Faces with Rod as their lead singer.
Surprise Surprise features ordinary people with exceptional stories to tell and rewards them with “spectacular surprises” for their efforts.
The popular show has recently returned after a 12-year break. This week’s episode saw former presenter Cilla Black make a guest appearance.