Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Fans' birthday surprise for Wire

Artist Neale Howells birthday message
Artist Neale Howell's birthday message to Nicky Wire

Two Manic Street Preachers fans have sent a special "epic" surprise birthday book to bassist Nicky Wire to help him celebrate his 40th birthday.

Fellow rock stars, including members of The Clash, Feeder and Echo and the Bunnymen, joined sporting and political figures to congratulate him.

Fans Sam and Amanda, who compiled the dedication, have sent him birthday greetings on 20 January for years.

"It's because it's his 40th we decided to go a bit 'doo dah'" said Sam.

Among the birthday messages for the Manics bassist and lyricist are ones from former Wales and Glamorgan cricketer Matthew Maynard and for Wales rugby international and now BBC pundit and commentator Jonathan Davies.

Ex-Manchester United and Scotland footballer Denis Law is also in there, alongside Welsh golfing legend Ian Woosnam.

Nicky Wire
Nicky Wire's sporting heroes feature prominently

There are greetings from Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen, former Clash bassist Paul Simonon, and chart topping rock band Feeder.

Peter Hain, the Neath MP and former Cabinet minister, also sends a message and so does ex-England footballer turned BBC presenter Gary Lineker and former England football manager Glenn Hoddle.

Planning officer Sam and her accountant friend Amanda, who are both in their 20s, met at a Manics gig in Brixton, London 2002 and describe themselves as massive fans of the Welsh rock band.

"I've been to about 100 concerts and have met Nicky several times," said Sam.

"We wanted to get messages from people Nicky is fans of and also his fans.

Message from Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen
Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen keeps it simple

Welsh artist Neale Howells, who did an album sleeve for the Manics also contributed, but so did ordinary fans via messages posted on websites backing the band.

Sam and Amanda are shy about revealing their full identity, saying they want to keep their hobby and professional lives apart.

But they live hundreds of miles apart in England and met for two weekends to compile the A3-sized book of greetings over tea.

They sent the finished book off to the Manics' management company earlier this week in time for Wire's big day.

"We haven't heard back. We just hope he has received it OK," said Sam.

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