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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 15:22 GMT
A fan's final farewell to Frankie
Norman Foster has a room dedicated to Frankie Laine

A house on a quiet Dumfries cul-de-sac has become a contact point for mourners around the world.

It is the home of Norman Foster - a 70-year-old former wholesale confectioner - and lifelong fan of Frankie Laine.

His phone has been ringing regularly since news of the singer's death reached other members of the crooner's international appreciation society.

Few can have more vivid or long-lasting memories than Mr Foster.

"I have been with Frankie from 1951 up until now," he said.

"It is longer than I have known anybody."

He was a teenager just out of Dumfries High School when he first saw his hero perform at the Glasgow Empire.

"The first time I saw him in 1952 was absolutely amazing," he said.

Norman Foster and Frankie Laine
The Dumfries man met his musical hero on numerous occasions

"I paid two shillings and six to stand at the back of the Glasgow Empire."

It was the start of a five-decade passion which has seen Mr Foster gather hundreds of CDs, dozens of videos, four or five scrapbooks as well as correspondence with the man himself.

They are all contained in what he calls "Frankie's Room".

"The voice was something that had never been heard before," said Mr Foster.

"They were all ballads then - nobody came out with a voice like that.

"It is the sincerity that he puts into everything - he really could be singing to you alone."

Mr Foster met the singer of hits like I Believe and Jezebel on numerous occasions - including his 90th birthday party.

He can also reel off an astounding string of statistics about Laine's career.

Scrap book
Mr Foster has a number of scrap books dating back to 1951

Like how he became a marathon dance champion in 1931 by dancing for 1501 hours.

Or how he spent more weeks at number one in 1953 than every other artist added together.

Indeed, in that period of the late 1940s and early 1950s Laine was one of the most famous performers in the world.

He was still able to play sell-out gigs in Las Vegas well into his 80s.

Musical legacy

It is that lengthy career and musical legacy which will ensure that Mr Foster and other members of the appreciation society continue to meet in future.

"First you get the next day or two by and the funeral and speak to all your friends throughout the world," he said.

"But as far as we are concerned - he is not away.

"The music is there, the memories are there and the videos are there for us to play for as long as we like."


SEE ALSO
Crooner Frankie Laine dies at 93
07 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
Obituary: Frankie Laine
07 Feb 07 |  Entertainment

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