Heysham student Laura Roper became a big fan of Frank Sinatra just two years ago, little realising that a message out of the blue would see her meeting the legend’s famous daughter Nancy in person.
Nancy has been over here from America to support special celebrations, including a spectacular Palladium show, to mark the centenary of her singer and actor father’s birth.
She asked to meet a handful of her father’s fans who are members of the Frank Sinatra Family Forum, which Nancy runs from her office in the States.
It was a memorable occasion for Laura, 17, who is reading animal studies at Lancaster and Morecambe College, and one she says she will always remember.
It was through watching her parents’ collection of old musicals, such as On The Town and Anchors Aweigh, that Laura’s fascination with Sinatra began.
And in just two years she has amassed more than 200 Sinatra recordings on her mobile phone and an impressive collection of CDs and even vinyl records. “I think I have almost everything he ever did in one form or another,” Laura said.
“I also have a lot of his films, including ones from the 1940s.”
She confessed her favourite Sinatra film was probably Guys and Dolls.
A regular contributor to the forum, Laura has exchanged many messages with Nancy, who takes a personal interest in the fans, even finding the time to congratulate Laura on her performance in GCSE exams.
Nancy always informed the forum about particular dates of historical interest concerning her father.
It was no surprise, when Laura received a message that Nancy wanted her to be among a handful of forum followers to meet up with her in London, that she immediately accepted!
Accompanied by her father, Andrew, Laura discovered they were the first to arrive at the Hilton, where Nancy was waiting to welcome them.
“It was a bit scary at first but really nice,” said Laura. “Nancy just came over and hugged me. When the others arrived it was just like a normal conversation, we just sat around talking.
“We were with her for a couple of hours. It was also nice to meet up with others in the forum.”
Laura said that although Nancy had had a busy schedule while in London, she wanted to meet some of those in the forum, whom she regarded as being part of the extended family.
And Laura has a further special link with Ol’ Blue Eyes....he died just one month before she was born in 1998.