The sad passing of George Michael had a deeply personal meaning for a couple from Little Sutton because he provided the soundtrack to their lives.
It was back in the summer of 1986 that Nigel Richards proposed to Debbie at the last ever Wham concert in the old Wembley Stadium. A year later they were married.
Three decades on and the super-fan couple are still going strong.
They’ve had children Jamie, 27, and Rebecca, 24, but have followed George Michael’s career every step of the way. They have seen him in concert five times and even celebrated their silver wedding anniversary by watching him at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in 2012.
Nigel, sales and marketing director at ALS Food and Pharmaceutical, appeared on BBC Radio Five Live to talk about George’s sad passing aged 53 on Christmas Day.
“My wife, my fiancée at the time, Debbie, and I went to see the Wham final concert and I actually proposed to her and that was at Wembley Stadium in 1986. It was June 1986, “ recalled Nigel, 54, who got down on one knee after Careless Whisper but now jokes that he ‘should have hung on for ‘I’m Your Man’ '.
“I can remember it well. It was a beautiful summer’s day, a really baking hot day and the old Wembley was absolutely packed to the rafters and it was a fabulous concert. I think everybody in the crowd was just so sad that Wham were breaking up after such a short time but it was just a fun concert and it seemed the right time to propose to Debbie and we have been together 30 years next year.”
He continued: “We have been lucky enough to see George on four or five occasions, most recently at Liverpool. We went to see him at the Symphonica concert.
“He’s just a fantastic performer, such a professional. He’s got such an incredible voice and he’s got a fantastic attention to detail. Every little thing was just absolutely spot on. And he’s written some fantastic songs over the years that have stood the test of time and he had a fantastically loyal fan base.”
Both he and Debbie, who turns 55 on Friday, were devastated on learning of George’s death late on Christmas Day.
“We are very big fans and it’s very sad he’s gone – the latest in a long line of sad news this year, isn’t it?” added Nigel. “It’s just really, really sad. It's too soon, really far too soon.”
“I would really like to have met him and I hear he was working on another album and we were hoping he might go on tour again.”
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