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EDITIONS
Monday, 10 June, 2002, 21:27 GMT 22:27 UK
Irish village warms to Macca
Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
Sir Paul and Heather delighted the crowd

Several hundred fans turned out to cheer Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills in the tiny village of Glaslough, Ireland on the eve of their wedding.

They were craning their necks to get a view from wherever they could - sitting on walls, perched on the ledges at the front of the local pub, standing in the alcove of the gatehouse of the venue - the Castle Leslie estate.

As rock's royal couple emerged from the gates to the estate, it seemed as though the whole village - which has a couple of pubs and an old-fashioned petrol pump - had come out to greet the pair.


They are a lovely couple. She's beautiful and he hasn't aged a bit

Yvonne Boyd, well-wisher
From school children to pensioners, everybody came just to see what was going on, even if they weren't Beatles fans.

But then, most people are.

When the couple emerged from just inside the castle gates, a cheer went up before another, bigger cheer after they had stepped forward and were asked to kiss for the cameras.

Heather wins fans

McCartney has charmed his fans for years - and there are few other figures in the world who could have got such an affectionate reception.

Many were still undecided about Heather - Paul's second, younger wife.

But she won over many people on this mini-walkabout.

She is not abashed by the cameras or the crowds, and when one fan threw a bunch of flowers at her feet, she picked them up and clutched them throughout their appearance.

Heather Mills
Heather said she was "excited"
And when her soon-to-be husband had finished talking to the media and was about to get back through the gates, she whispered something in his ear and he turned around to shake some of the waiting hands and sign autographs.

Those fans will thank her for that.

"They are a lovely couple. She's beautiful and he hasn't aged a bit," said Yvonne Boyd, 39, from Glaslough, who said she was a "big time Beatles fan".

"It's a great buzz for the village - definitely a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I couldn't miss coming down."

Among the other on-lookers was Josie McKenna, 57, who was craning her neck out of a top window of her Pillar House pub, which overlooks the entrance to the estate.

"It's been absolutely crazy for the last couple of weeks," she said.

"It's been hectic around here with the world media - they're from all over. It's just been mad, but it's exciting as well. It's a big event in a little village."

Village boost

She has been playing her part in preparations by feeding castle staff and media - something not helped by a three-hour power cut while she was cooking 150 meals on Monday morning.

A Beatles fan from the 1960s, she met Sir Paul when he went to stay at the castle several months ago, and said he was "a charming chap, a lovely person and lovely to talk to".

She knew that something was afoot at the time - but kept it under her hat.

And the event would be great for the village and the area, she said.

"From this day forward, even in our own little country here, no-one will be saying 'Where's Glaslough?'

"It will be 'Oh, Glaslough, the place where Paul McCartney got married'."

Although the villagers are not star-struck after visits of the Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull and Westlife down the years, this was the biggest of them all.

Another Beatles fan, 24-year-old Aiden McKenna, from nearby Emyvale, had gone down hoping to get his Abbey Road LP signed - but to no avail.

"There are a lot of locals here today, and we are pleased to come out and show our affection for him," he said.

A lot of people would be in the Pillar House on Tuesday, toasting Sir Paul while watching the Republic of Ireland's crucial World Cup match, he said.

"We've got one excellent day ahead of us tomorrow."

BBC News Online charts Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills' relationship


The courtship

The happy couple

Remembering Linda

PHOTO GALLERY

THE LOCAL HERO

In Pictures
Sir Paul's big day
See also:

10 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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