A TAKE THAT fan had a little ‘patience’ and was given a birthday she would ‘never forget’ when pop superstar Gary Barlow turned up at her party in Hockley Heath.
Light Hall School pupil Keeley Byrne fell in love with Take That’s frontman when her mum, Rachel, took her along to a concert in Milan where they queued for nearly two days just to get as close to the front of the gig as possible.
Fast-forward a year, the now 13-year-old stumbled across an opportunity she was determined not to miss when scrolling through Twitter – the former Take That frontman and X-Factor judge had posted a message to all his fans which read: ‘If you have a milestone birthday this year, start your campaign now.’
His appeal was for people with an important birthday to campaign for him to be the surprise guest.
Desperate to not let the chance slip, Keeley put pen to paper and set about planning her campaign to grab the attention of her celebrity crush.
Convinced she couldn’t do it alone, she forced her dad, Aaron, to join in and started to record a series of Take That parody videos – which included the pair paddling down the river in a makeshift boat singing ‘The Flood’.
The Hall Green teenager was soon posting videos on Twitter morning, noon and night in a bid to get ‘The Barlow’ to sing at her 13th birthday party.
Speaking to The Observer’s Aisling Kiely, mum Rachel spoke about the moment she found out Keeley’s dream was about to come true.
“Six weeks before the party was expected to go ahead, I received a direct message on Twitter from Gary Barlow,” she said.
“I was absolutely elated, I couldn’t stop jumping around the bathroom – but I had to be silent to make sure Keeley couldn’t hear.
“She is quite an inquisitive person, so it was a hard job trying to the pull the wool over her eyes.”
But there was one slight problem.
The Take That heart-throb asked Rachel to change the day of the party because he was unable to make the date.
The quick-thinking mum came up with a plan and told Keeley there had been a mix up with the DJ booking and the party had to be moved to the day before.
Deflated and disappointed, Keeley felt all of her dreams had been shattered and was convinced the Take That star would not be attending.
After six stressful weeks of planning, the night had finally arrived for Keeley to pull out her party outfit and forget all about the hit singer/songwriter turning up.
Playing along with the game, Mr Barlow even staged a tweet pretending he was in for a long night in the recording studio.
But unbeknown to Keeley, her birthday was about to take an unexpected turn.
The party at Hockley Heath Village Hall was in full swing when Gary sneaked in through the back door and serenaded the gobsmacked teenager with her favourite song of all time – Greatest Day – on the dance floor.
Lost for words, Keeley broke down into tears.
Looking back on the special moment, she said the amazing experience had made her life complete.
“I was really really shocked but so amazed.
“I started the campaign last March, but I never expected anything to actually come of it.
“I had absolutely no idea he was going to turn up – it was unreal.
“He gave me a huge hug, wished me a happy birthday and told me it was a brilliant campaign.”