JEDWARD fever spread like wildfire on Friday when the pop duo with the most famous quiffs in the music industry made a surprise ‘behind-closed-doors’ visit to Ballymoney, writes Nevin Farrell.
As word ‘leaked out’ dozens of screaming fans hot-footed it to the doors of the Ballymoney Community Resource Centre on Friday afternoon to catch a glimpse of their heroes.
But inside it was a dream come true for members of ‘The Causeway Crew’ who could not believe their eyes when ‘Jedward’ arrived at the rock school scheme which brings together young people with physical and learning disabilities and able-bodied peers as part of the ‘Rocking The Causeway’ project.
Normally the group meets every second Saturday but although they were brought in on Friday the reason for the unscheduled gathering was kept a secret from the 23 members of the group, aged from eleven upwards.
The Rock School is funded by ‘Children In Need’ and a film crew arrived with Jedward who stayed with the local musicians for two hours and signed autographs.
But the highlight was performing a version of ‘Teenage Kicks’ with ‘The Causeway Crew’.
‘Rocking the Causeway’ co-ordinator Lyn Moffett told the Times: “We had managed to keep it a surprise that Jedward were coming and when they came through the door the young people were thrilled. There was great excitement and screams of disbelief.” It was appropriate then that the Causeway Crew sang a song for Jedward called ‘Don’t Stop Believing’.
By the team Jedward left around 4.30pm on Friday over 50 screaming fans had learned of the presence of the pop stars at the Resource Centre but although they did catch a glimpse of their heroes some were disappointed Jedward were unable to stop and sign autographs.
But Lyn Moffett said it was her understanding that the pop stars had to bolt out of Ballymoney to get to Dublin airport to catch a flight.
Frenzied rumours of ‘Jedward’ being in Ballymoney swept the town mid-afternoon on Friday. People began hitting Facebook and twitter for information and the Ballymoney Times office was phoned by fevered fans seeking information.
Some non-believers thought it was just too bizarre to be true and that ‘Jedward would never come to Ballymoney’ but stardust had indeed been sprinkled.
And one fan, Vicky Henry, even got the rest of the day off from her work in ‘Scrummies’ when she heard the stars were in town.
Darryl Wilson (32), owner of Mr D’s Hot Food Bar, which operates beside the Resource Centre, said he and his staff couldn’t believe their eyes when Jedward - dressed in their trademark clothing with a J and an E on their clothing to help fans tell the twins apart - descended on Ballymoney.
Darryl told the Times: “We were standing working at Mr D’s on Friday afternoon when a people carrier with blacked out windows pulled up and out jumped Jedward!
“There were tv cameras present. We were sort of shocked that stars like that were present in the town and I phoned my wife Emma, who runs ‘Scrummies’ at Main Street, to tell her about it.
“People nearby must have heard her talking about it because the word soon got out and within a short period of time we had over 50 young people who legged it up here to get a look at Jedward.
“It was unbelievable how quickly the word got out around Ballymoney. We were going to shut up the chip van but kept it open.
“By around 4.30pm Jedward came out of the Resource Centre and within seconds they jumped into the car and were whizzed off.
“It looked as if they perhaps wanted to stop and chat to their fans but whatever happened they just didn’t get to although I am sure the people in the Resource Centre loved every minute of it,” said Darryl.
As the screams of excited fans died down the story of the unannounced Jedward trip to Ballymoney set the internet ablaze.
In the town centre groups of young people - off school for Hallowe’en break - gathered in huddles for news of where the pop duo could be and the Times even received calls to see if we knew of their whereabouts.
We despatched a reporter onto the streets of the town centre to see if they could spot Jedward on Friday afternoon.
And news of the search for Jedward even made it onto the Alan Simpson radio show on Radio Ulster.
But it turned out the Ballymena Road was the place to be for Jedward fans to see their heroes.
And it gave Ballymoney a feel for what it must have been like in Belfast at the weekend when international music stars descended en masse for the MTV awards.
Now, we just have to see if ‘Teenage Kicks’ by ‘The Causeway Crew featuring Jedward’ makes it to Number One.