Lockdown! Isolate! Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives. But what about chance encounters, the moments that surprise and astound us? I asked a few people about their chance encounters that left a lasting impression.
Kieran Murphy, 18, from Dagenham
Whist on a school trip to Brighton myself and my girlfriend were looking for an ATM. As we approached one, another couple was also heading that way. The ATM was faulty so we both turned and walked away. In passing, I noticed it was the YouTuber PewDiePie. I took the chance and asked if I could snap a photo with him. Another chance encounter was whilst I was in Camden this year. I was sitting people watching when Beabadoobee the singer walked past. I approached her and got a great photo.
Megan Murphy, 16, from Dagenham
Not quite a chance encounter, after doing some detective work on the internet I was able to track down the hotel that Shawn Mendes was staying in. After queuing for nine hours he walked around the corner. We had a meet and greet and a photo. Another time whilst at the ice rink in Romford, I saw Joe Swash practicing for dancing on ice. We spoke to him and he was really nice.
Diane Sanford, 57, from Canvey
Just walking down the road going to the shop and who do you bump into? Glenda Jackson. At this stage, she was an MP as well as a famous actress. So I said hello and had a chat with her. In 1967, my dad’s friend was a chauffeur, he used to chauffeur people about. Where we lived was an old Dickinson pub called The Bunch of Grapes. It was in Narrow Street. It was a popular pub for the rich and famous. Frank Sinatra was working on a film in London. My mum was a big fan. My dad came to collect her but because she had just had a baby she couldn’t go. Instead, me and my elder sisters went down to meet him. He said I was a pretty little girl and he signed our record.
Terry Slattery, 40, from Dagenham
I won tickets to go and see Ocean Colour Scene. Me and my cousin went to a pub close by and Paul Weller was sitting having a drink with a woman. I didn’t want to disturb him so I tried to discreetly take a picture, after all, it was Paul Weller. The woman he was with didn’t take too kindly to it. Fortunately, Paul Weller was more understanding. On another occasion, I was at Westham and Russel Brand was there. He was talking to someone and asked their son if he wanted a picture with him. He said “Nah, I’m alright thanks” I must admit that tickled me.
Graham Fox, from London.
I once met Larry Lamb during a charity abseil at the Royal London Hospital. He was a thoroughly lovely bloke.
Sarah Fraser, from Barking
I once met Princess Diana at the Royal College of Surgeons, I loved her.
Donna Cavengher, from Dagenham
I once met Chris Evans when in London when I was fifteen, for some reason I had the same ginger hair like him. Thanks to my mum for doing that.
Bridgett Powel, from Gray’s
I once met Simon Cowell at Harrods. He was really friendly and I got a picture with him.
Helen Murphy, from Romford
I met Jill Dado once. She was answering calls at the BT tower for Children In Need. She was a beautiful goddess, a natural beauty, and even lovelier in real life.
I met Phillip Schofield once, before his This Morning days. He was opening a local shopping centre. I also met David Ginola at a party after Ascot. I was a little worse for wear.
Chance encounters range from the above stories, an accidental celebrity meeting right up to meeting your future partner or a lifelong friend. Fingers crossed they resume soon. When they do, embrace the random and surprising. Store them in your memory bank and like Diane, you may acquire an antidote to tell your children and grandchildren.
By Julie Sanford
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