Garden guru sets hearts fluttering

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FOR many of the fans waiting to meet Alan Titchmarsh at his book signing last week, it was the first time they had ever come face to face with the celebrity.

But for one man in the queue, meeting the gardening guru was merely a reminder of the sight he sees every morning when he wakes up.

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Gary Skipworth, of Fishtoft, who had gone along to get Alan’s autograph for his wife, is greeted with the smiling face of the Yorkshireman every morning, as his wife keeps a cardboard cutout of the star in the bedroom.

“She’s a big fan,” he said.

Gary and his daughter Emma Swift had gone along to Waterstones to get Alan’s latest book signed for wife’s 65th birthday.

When the pair got to the front of the queue, Gary wasted no time in telling Alan about his wife’s adoration.

The star very good-naturedly replied: “I’m so sorry.”

Gary’s wife was not the only adoring woman represented in the several hundred-strong queue. Julia Cuppleditch, of Windsor Bank, Boston, described herself as ‘an avid fan.’

The 57-year-old told the Standard: “I’m so excited. He’s like David Essex and Rod Stewart. I’m an absolute avid fan. I’ve got everything he’s ever done. I’ve got all his books and I watch his show all the time. If I’m out I tape it.”

When her idol gave her a peck on the cheek, Julia told him she would never wash it again.

Alan appeared at Waterstones as part of the tour for his new book, The Haunting, which tells the story of a schoolteacher who researches his family history and discovers some skeletons in the closet.

The former Ground Force presenter said: “It’s been a lovely morning.

“The people seem very jolly here. It was a good turnout. They were queuing round the block. It’s always very surprising but lovely to see.

“It’s great growing country here. I was looking at the soil on my way down and I want to take a bag or two home with me.”

A spokesman for Waterstones said the store was ‘very pleased’ with the turnout at the event.