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Take That fans’ shock meeting with band is Greatest Day

It was an experience they will Never Forget - four Take That superfans from Lynn got to hang out with the band in an incredible surprise.

The three women and a man were selected from hundreds of thousands of competition hopefuls to be part of a lucky 27, none of whom knew they were going to meet Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald.

Everyone was under the pretence that they were filming superfan footage to be shown before the band’s concerts.

So it was something of a shock when a fleet of vehicles carrying the lads screeched to a halt beside them. Everyone’s reaction was filmed and forms part of a Saturday night TV ad campaign by Suzuki, which is airing during Britain’s Got Talent.

Take That members Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen with the lucky winners
Take That members Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen with the lucky winners

For 50-year-old Tracey Hornigold, of Gaskell Way, Reffley, it was a dream come true.

“It was the kind of experience you will never forget - the greatest day,” she said, unwittingly mentioning two of Take That’s biggest hits.

The experience last month was won by long-time friend Tracey Curson, a fellow superfan, after Tracey Hornigold jokingly said she wanted to meet Take That as a present for her “big” 50th birthday.

After lots of probing and checks to see that the friends were indeed superfans they got the exciting news that they had been chosen - but were also told that they would definitely not meet the trio.

“We didn’t mind too much because just to feature on the footage as superfans was going to be great,” said Tracey Hornigold.

Tracey Curson and (right) Tracey Hornigold with Take That members (from left) Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen
Tracey Curson and (right) Tracey Hornigold with Take That members (from left) Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen

The big ‘ambush’ was sprung in Rotherham, en route to a gig at Sheffield Arena the following day.

Tracey said: “All I can remember is just standing there with my mouth open in shock. Everyone else rushed forward but I just stood there and didn’t move!”

The two Traceys jumped into a vehicle with Mark Owen and had a chat. Through her record store work, Tracey Hornigold went to an album launch of Mark’s at Abbey Road Studios many years ago and had always been gutted that she hadn’t got to meet him then (particularly as she’d always had a crush on him). So this was really special for her.

“He was impressed that I’d been to that album launch,” said Tracey. “They are all just the nicest gentlemen ever. Even though there were 27 of us, they had so much time for us all. And the hospitality by ITV and Suzuki was amazing, we had a VIP box at the gig.”

Tracey Hornigold has been a fan since the very start of the band’s 30-year career.

It was during her 17-year stint at the former Andy’s Records store in Norfolk Street, Lynn, that her love affair with them took off. After working her way up to the position of buyer, Tracey got to hear new music first and the early material from the Manchester band - then a five-piece - grabbed her.

Since then she’s been to see them on every tour - including four times for one of the shows. The first was at Wembley Arena in 1993 and in total Tracey has been to more than 25 gigs by either the band or as solo artists.

Her favourite band member has always been Mark Owen.

Friend of 20 years Tracey Curson is a huge fan too. Her favourite is Robbie Williams, who broke many hearts when he left the band in 1995. It was 52-year-old training manager Tracey who entered the pals for the superfans experience.

It was remarkable that four of the lucky 27 winners were from Lynn. The Traceys didn’t know Iain and Kelly Wells but recognised their faces when the group met up and they’ve since all become friends. The four will next meet up at Norwich City’s Carrow Road ground on Thursday, May 30, as part of the band’s Greatest Hits Live Tour.

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