Following the sad news of the death of glam rock star Alvin Stardust last week, Jo Henwood takes a look back at the singer’s last official visit to Chester in 2005 when he performed at the city’s former Gateway Theatre
Nine years ago, my daughter came home from school with a letter to say that she had been chosen to perform alongside Alvin Stardust at a Christmas special at the Gateway.
She was 10 and had no idea who he was - I was 10 in the 1970s and did.
I will admit to being a little sceptical about the whole project - was it just another ploy by an ageing rock star to make a buck by getting us parents to fork out £15 a ticket to see our own children in our own theatre?
As community news reporter for the Chronicle at the time, I went to the rehearsal at Overleigh St Mary’s CE Primary School to see the man in action and my sceptism disappeared.
His love of music shone through and he shared that with all the children. He started off the rehearsal with a well known Christmas carol and the smiles on the youngsters on our photos says it all. They had a great time at the concert, as did the audience.
Teacher Fiona MacSween was backstage at the theatre at the time. She said: “He was a true performer, loved being on the stage.
“Backstage was a very serious place for him. He didn’t really speak much to us backstage, he was very very quiet. The music started and his stage persona came to life!”
Alvin Stardust, born Bernard Jewry in 1942, died at home on Thursday, October 23 2014. He had recently been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer.
His hits include My Coo Ca Choo, Pretend and I Feel Like Buddy Holly.
He was the star of a Green Cross Code TV road safety campaign in 1976 and appeared on the West End stage in a number of musicals, including as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Stardust was married three times to Iris Caldwell, the actress Liza Goddard and actress and choreographer Julie Paton.