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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 11:50 GMT
Tom Jones' birthday homecoming
Tom Jones
Jones the Voice says the park is a perfect place to bring everyone together
Tom Jones fans queued in the rain to be among the first to buy tickets for his homecoming concert at Pontypridd's Ynysangharad Park.

It will be the star's only performance of 2005 and will take place on 28 May - a week before his 65th birthday.

Tickets went on sale on Wednesday on Jones' fan club website and at the Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd.

First in the queue was Helen Anzani, 45, who said: "This concert will be the best because it's his home town."

A line of about 30 people, young and old, had formed by the time tickets went on sale at 0900 GMT. They do not go on general sale until Thursday.

Helen Anzani
Helen Anzani was the first person to buy tickets for the concert

Others joined the queue when they passed by and found out what was happening.

A crowd of 25,000 is expected for the gig on the green, green grass of the town centre venue known as Ponty park.

Jones said he hoped his outdoor birthday concert in Pontypridd would encourage other world-class concerts and events to come to the town.

"I love the park and I have a lot of wonderful memories there," said Jones.

"I've flown the dragon all over the world since 1965, and now 40 years later - in the Grand Slam year for our rugby team - I'm thrilled we've been able to organise a very special show for the town."

Ms Anzani said she had joined the queue for tickets at the Muni centre at 0800 GMT.

"As soon as I got up I came down here. I was the first in the queue and then a couple of men turned up about 10 minutes after me.

"I'm a huge Tom Jones fan. I've been to see him three times in concert already but this will be the best because it's in his home town," she said.

Tom Jones fans queuing for tickets
Tom Jones fans queued for tickets despite the rain
"When I was a young girl, I remember seeing him with the older girls. I had no idea then what he would turn out to be."

Alwyn West, 75, from Pontypridd - queuing with wife Margaret - said: "It's wonderful for Pontypridd that Tom Jones is coming here."

Jones was born Thomas Jones Woodward on 7 June 1940 in Treforest, an area close to Pontypridd town centre.

He first took to the stage at the Treforest Non-Political Club - the social club just yards from his home.

He would regularly sing at family gatherings and weddings as well as his mother's Women's Guild meetings.

After landing his first UK No 1 with It's Not Unusual in the 1960s, he leapt to international stardom and has stayed at the top for four decades.

After disappearing off the UK radar for a while, he stormed back in the charts with a cover version of Prince's Kiss.

Since then he has modelled himself as Wales' most enduring sex symbol, and more recently, his career has gone from strength to strength by working with the Stereophonics and Cerys Matthews among others, and picking up a Brit award.


SEE ALSO:
Valley open-top bus scrapped
17 Mar 04 |  South East Wales
Tom drops trademark pants
10 Mar 04 |  Wales
Jones in top 10 pop rich list
24 Apr 03 |  Wales


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