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Friday, 21 November 2014

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Katherine Jenkins

YOU will always have a special place in my heart,” Katherine Jenkins told her audience in Whitehaven. “I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it here, you always make me feel so welcome.”

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DELIGHTED TO BE BACK: The gorgeous Katherine Jenkins arrives on the main stage at the Whitehaven Festival on Friday

In a performance fit for a Queen, the stunning soprano gave a magical show on the harbourside, getting Whitehaven Diamond Jubilee Festival well and truly under way.

And her audience of almost 2,000 can consider themselves in very good company as Katherine dashed from Whitehaven after the concert to perform the following day to Her Majesty the Queen.

She told a national newspaper that she had only managed two hours of sleep before preparing on Saturday to sing the National Anthem in front of a crowd of 125,000 at the Epsom Derby, the start of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Whitehaven’s concert was the first one the 31-year-old had performed in three months as she has been in America taking part in Dancing With The Stars.

In this return visit to the town, she told her audience: “It’s so lovely to be back in Whitehaven. I remember the concert two years ago. Thank you for having me back, last time was such a memorable concert for me.” And, against a backdrop of clear blue skies, she asked: “Is the sun always shining in Whitehaven?”

Accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra, Katherine performed a range of songs including Amazing Grace, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu, Shirley Bassey’s I Who Have Nothing and Time To Say Goodbye.

The stunning soprano was beautifully – and patriotically – dressed. First in a white dress, then blue and then glittering red before the finale which saw her on stage in striking purple.

Runner-up in Dancing With The Stars, the US version of Strictly Come Dancing, Katherine said she was delighted to be back in the UK. “I had an amazing time learning to dance but it’s really lovely to be back home. This is the first time I have sung a concert in three months so I’m very glad to be back doing the day job.”

In a genuine rapport with the audience, Katherine read out requests, sang Happy Birthday and one fan even shouted “marry me”.

She thanked five-year-old Bethany for her note saying “I love you Katherine” and she also wished Gerard and Dianne Richardson a happy Silver Wedding anniversary – which they haven’t had time to celebrate because of organising the festival!

The star enjoyed plenty of chat with her fans including a story about when her mum and auntie visited her in America. They were chatting to Katherine on the phone and then: “I heard a crash, screams and then silence. My mum had driven my convertible BMW into a bus! The car was written off but they were okay.”

The crowd waved Union flags and sang along to We’ll Meet Again and Rule Britannia. Conductor Anthony Inglis provided great entertainment trying to get the audience to clap in the right places.

For the final performance of the night, the audience took to its feet and joined the star in belting out Land of Hope and Glory.

Katherine added: “I hope I get a chance to come and sing to you again.”

TERRY PONTING, chairman of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, presented her with a floral bouquet.

ANDREW KEEP, of St Bees, said afterwards: “It was absolutely fantastic, this is so good for Whitehaven, it really puts us on the map.” And GEORGE SHORT, also of St Bees, added: “It’s such an intimate venue, no matter where you sit the view is brilliant. Gerard Richardson needs a lot of praise for this.” They were with ROBERT and CHRISTINE SHORT from Carlisle and JOYCE FREW and MIKE HALLIDAY from France.

ALISON COWLEY, of Ennerdale, was with PAULINE SMITH, of Harrington and JUDITH DAKERS, of Workington. “She sang all of the things I love,” said Alison. Judith said: “It was a fantastic performance.” Pauline added: “It was small and intimate, absolutely brilliant.”

And Copeland MP JAMIE REED said: “It was just amazing to see her perform in Whitehaven – she has a great rapport with people.”

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