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  • Wendy Byard

Do what makes you happy

....or don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today

What dreams are you putting off or have totally shelved because you think you're too old/too large/too untrendy/too short/too tall *delete as applicable. Stay with me; you'll see where I'm going with this very soon.

So far this year, I've travelled away from home at least once a month. It started getting a bit tiring, and I thought August would be the ideal opportunity to have a break. However, when I heard that the love of my life was in concert two and a half hours away, I had to go and see him.

I've loved Tony Hadley since I was 12 years old. Italians adore him too; he comes over at least once a year, and his concerts are sellouts. What an excellent excuse to have a mini break; I booked myself a hotel by the beach. So much for being a bit tired of travelling!

I'd always dreamed of meeting Tony, but I never asked because of a few of the excuses above. This time I knew those fears and thoughts were unfounded. I was definitely worthy, and you'll never get things if you don't ask.

So I did. I wrote and asked if I could go backstage to say hi. I wasn't expecting a response, and I certainly wasn't expecting the response I got...YES! but I'd have to check on the day to see if it was still ok. I was bouncing like Tigger.

The big day arrived. I called at 5 pm and was informed that because the weather was so hot, he wouldn't arrive until 7.30, and then he had to sound check. Could I call back at 8? OMG, I'd have to wait another 3 hours. I occupied myself by getting ready, taking a slow passeggiata along the lungomare and stopping off at a beach bar for a cocktail and some sushi.

I watched the clock every few minutes... 8 pm arrived.

I called

Me: Can I still come?

Tones manager: YES!!!!!!! But you need to be at the stage door by 8.30

I was there at 8:05

There were crowds of other people waiting, but the tour manager recognised me (I'd sent her the below picture by mistake, it was supposed to be for my friends) and ushered me inside the castle. At first, it was pitch black. There were flight cases and instruments everywhere, but I could see more clearly as my eyes adjusted to the purple light.

Then I heard a voice, "here she is, hello darling."

It was Tone. I grabbed him, gave him a massive hug and an even bigger kiss; he was a little surprised, but I didn't falter.

We chatted about his tour, how he looked after his voice (and it's still brilliant by the way), and he asked me about my work in Italy. He was fascinated. We talked and talked until he realised, twenty minutes later, that he was late and had to go and get ready. Another big hug, a kiss and a photo, and he disappeared again into his dressing room. Out of bounds to me I'm afraid.

Wendy Byard with Tony Hadley

I went to take my seat. Yes, some concerts are all seated in Italy. Very frustrating. I thought people would stand as soon as it started, but no, they sat. Me being me, I simply couldn't do that. I stood up and danced in my place, only to be tapped on the shoulder and told to sit down. There was no way I was sitting down all night, so I made my way to the side of the auditorium and danced there. I was quickly joined by another woman and then another; soon, we were quite a few of us. It was fantastic, and I know Tone saw us because he kept looking and smiling. I still am.

What struck me about this dream of mine coming true was this. For many, many years, I would never have even considered writing to my hero and asking to meet him. How I looked and felt about myself meant that I didn't think I was worthy of meeting someone like him. That's sad.

In fact, just before I met him, I actually thought to myself, Wendy, he's pretty lucky to be meeting you. You should be proud of yourself, you look great, and you have exciting things to talk about; and you know what, I was right!


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