Well as all our readers know, I'm constantly banging on about what a lovely person Rachel is. But with the obvious exception of Karen, virtually none of you had been lucky enough to meet her.
I was delighted to discover that all changed on Sunday when at least three of our regular readers, including a Team Tucker member got to meet and chat to Rachel at Hyde Park. And were you impressed? Damn right you were!
With the permission of the fans concerned, I'm posting three accounts of what happened when they met Rachel. All very different but with one common result -- huge respect for our girl.
The first account is from Jean (aka Jammiedodger on the IF). She was heading to the exit after the show and was incredibly lucky to encounter a crowd of celebrities, including Keith Jack, Jessie, Idina Menzel and of course our Rachel. You can read her very full and detailed account of her day on the 'ALW Birthday Party' thread of the internet forum, but she has kindly allowed us to use this extract. I think the fact that she preferred to stay and chat to Rachel rather than chase after Ruthie and Idina speaks volumes.
"Then Rachel appeared......she is such a dote...and still hyper...I was always a Rachel fan but if she had shown this side of her everyone would have been a fan....she was having loads of photos taken with people...and nattering away all the time 100 miles an hour. I asked her polietly for her autograph and as I have a slight Northern Ireland twang she asked me where I was from so i explained to which she replied " dear god woman did you come the whole may to London for this?" I told her yes but from Brimingham not Ireland and I told her she looked like she was having the time of her life on stage " oh my god it was...wasn't it fabulous...just amazing...I mean come on.....its just .......great!"...so funny...then someone screamed out " oh my god its Ruthie". Now I stayed chatting to Rachel and Ruthie hopped in a car anyway but then " Oh my God is Idina"..... Rachel burst out laughin and muttered" I hope she is behind the barrier the poor woman will be mobbed...
She is just so so so sweet and lovely....I am a huge fan now even bigger than before."
The second account is from Team Tucker member Rachel Smith, who sent us her beautiful photos and also the great footage of 'Light At The End of the Tunnel', which are already on the blog.
Here is her account:
"After the show we had like 2 hours to kill before getting the train back to Norwich so we decided to see if we could spot some people. first we went to the side of the stage and after a while we saw all the olivers, they came to the door to see Keisha, i heard her say to them that Rachel, Jessie and Niamh had already gone over to the vip bit so after taking a few photos of the adorable olivers we headed towards the vip bit. On our way there we spotted the yummy Daniel Boys, so i had my photo taken with him then as i turned round i spotted Rachel! I just said hello Rachel and she smiled and said hi and then i asked if i could have a photo and she said of course, then i told her my name was Rachel too!! i told her how fantastic she was and she said thanks, i also said that the olivers were looking for her, then Jessie's family turned up and she was talking to them for a bit. Security moved us on so we headed closer to the vip bit and there i spotted Niamh but wasnt able to get a photo with her because of the stupid security men. Then just through the vip bit standing outside i spotted Jessie. Just then Rachel and Jessie's family walked over so i called out to Rachel and said "please can you ask Jessie to come out and she said "yeah" and smiled. Then she pointed to Jessie's mum and said "thats Jessie's mum" so i shouted back excitedly "i know" then waved to Jessie's mum!! Rachel then sent Jessie out and first Jessie hugged and kissed all her family, then i called out "Jessie" and she looked and smiled so i waved her over and she told her family to hang on then ran over to me (how sweet is that?). i had my photo taken with her too and had a little chat with her and then it was time to go.
Obviously the best day of my life!!"
The third account is from JB, a lady who I've come to know rather well via email and am looking forward to meeting on opening night. No further explanation is needed as she says it all here:
It’s amazing what a timely mission to find to the loo can bring. Heading for home via the inviting sight of a portacabin, I walked along side a host of the shows guests…that one who sang ‘Argentina’, the one who was Christine in Phantom, with the unbelievable voice (glad I left the champagne flutes at home),the guy who sung superbly as Christ just before La Buckley graced the stage and I forgot everything else I’d seen ‘till then- apologies for being facishous..not taking much notice of them…the loo awaited…
Exiting the portacabins, still buzzing from one of the most complete and memorable days, at a musical event in years, the perfect day wasn’t over; some one had been looking down from on high, resulting in … chatting and shaking hands with Jessie, an unspeakably fortuitous, unforgettable few minutes, with which I could fill this entire blog ( to be banished for eternity)!…so moving swiftly on…
Marshals were keen to clear the park. I spotted Jessie’s parents, keen to get to the v.i.p area to greet their waiting daughter,(That’s not moving on is it ?) I made my way, be it slowly, down the pathway.To my left came Rachel scuttling and struggling in a big rush, pulling her over night case behind like a little refugee; a bid to get away too I assumed. She looked up and we both laughed ! At risk of pushing further my incredible luck that day, I asked if she’d spare a very brief moment, astonishingly she said ‘yer sure!’
Apart from a dazzlingly warm, friendly smile, the first thing I realized was how terribly reassuring it was to meet someone as ‘vertically challenged’ as I ,we were even somewhere close to eye level ! Or may be Rachel had adopted the Joss Stone look, I can’t remember. Obviously I said thanks her for a wonderful show and what a laugh we’d all had, mentioning that I only came to hear her and Jessie sing ! and how lovely it had been to say ‘well done’ personally. Exchanging comments on Jessie’s wonderful solo (Rachel,always thinking of others) I thanked her for ‘looking out’ for Jessie and felt the camaraderie between them was great- long may it last, etc etc-
‘like big sister!’ she replied ! ( awwww. Rachel, I’ve always said you’re a good egg !)
I mentioned the JBFB,and David on this site, both met with a big grin ‘Oh yes! I know David, the blogs great !
Conversation now verging on ‘not brief,’ her mobile rang, she graciously and sincerely apologised before answering, and bid goodbye, with a little wave, the phone tucked under her neck… it’s o.k. Rachel I won’t repeat anything I heard !
This was my recollection returning home to the family at 11.30p.m,then again, Rachel may have her version, of meeting a Vicky Pollard on Speed… ‘maaaaaazing ooommggg! oommmgggggggg!!! Sig ‘ere an’ ’gis us a ph’to then!!’
Will I be eating my words in ten years time when a photo with Rachel or a signed programme are going to be like gold dust ? All I know, is that I wouldn’t change a thing, except for Katie being there too.
Rachel is gem and has my complete respect. I’m looking forward to shouting ‘bravo!’ around 10.00pm on Monday. Break a leg and huge success in your bright career-you Good Egg, you .