Deanna with Robin Gibb at at Prebendal, his 13th century manor house in Thame, Oxfordshire
Deanna Barnes, home manager of Templeman House, has a surprising other life in which she mingles with celebrities at exclusive London events.
“It all started in 1968 when I was just eight years old, “explains Deanna. “I heard a pop group on the radio and that was it – I was hooked! I would cut pictures from my sisters’ magazines and pin them up on my bedroom wall”.
“When I was thirteen I was able to buy my first record called The Best of the Bee Gees vol 2, and I still have it to this day. With my first wages of £120 I was able to buy a record player, and since then I have bought every record or CD produced by the Bee Gees.”
The story took a new twist In 2009 when Deanna received an email from the Heritage Foundation, which combines paying tribute to Britain’s entertainment and sports talent with raising funds for good causes through its charity The Arts and Entertainment Charitable Trust. Fundraising events include erecting permanent memorials in the shape of Blue Plaques, staging tribute evenings, luncheons, garden parties, and concerts.
The email invited Deanna to London to have Sunday lunch with former Bee Gee Robin Gibb, the current President of the Heritage Foundation, and to be present at a Blue Plaque unveiling in recognition of his dedication to the music industry. Deanna has since attended many Sunday lunches at the Grosvenor Hotel in Park Lane as a guest of the Heritage Foundation, where she has met many celebrities.
“Then on Sunday 17th July 2011 I had a dream come true of being able to attend an afternoon tea party at Robin Gibb’s House!” says Deanna. “After 125 photos and running around the garden in a dream I was able to attend an auction where, after much bidding and spending a lot of my savings, I became the proud owner of a portrait hand signed by Robin Gibb”. She adds: “To all pop fans out there I say: never give up on your dreams – sometimes they do come true!”