The turnout is unreal - must be a couple of thousand so far including one of his biggest idols [and one of the original Pop Idols] Michelle McManus [who also wrote the most amazing article about him].
THERE are some people you meet in life that you instantly know stand out from the crowd, making them impossible to ever forget.
In my life, I’ve been so lucky and blessed to meet so many incredible people from all walks of life but, right now, I want to tell to you about one young man called Martyn Hett.
Martyn was a boy, originally from Stockport, who first contacted me a few years ago via social media.
At first, I wasn’t too sure how to take Martyn. I wasn’t quite sure his extremely flattering comments towards me regarding my singing were truly sincere because - let’s be honest - I’ve had the most incredible 14 years since winning Pop Idol and I’m so very proud of the career I’ve built and sustained for myself during that time, but I’m no stranger to being the butt of people’s jokes regarding my weight or my lack of chart-topping singles.
That’s just something that’s part and parcel of the wonderful life I live in the public eye - and I totally accept that.
Martyn was different, though, and I realised very quickly that he genuinely was sincere and was, quite simply, a fan who wanted to get in touch to tell me just that.
I found him so sweet and, even when his friends would gently tease him on Twitter, it only made him more determined to convince them to join his crusade to get me back in the charts and “touring the country,” as he put it.
I explained to Martyn that I’d been working away quite happily up in Scotland and that I regularly toured north of the border with my one-woman shows.
I promised to let him know if I was doing anything down in England.
A few months later, I was booked to perform at a beautiful venue called West 5 in London and, as promised, I tweeted the details out so that Martyn could come along if he wished.
With it being miles away from where he lived, I didn’t expect him to make the journey down to London.
But how wrong I was.
His was the first face I saw when I walked out on stage, front row, beaming up at me.
He truly made me feel like I was Céline Dion, or some other international diva, as he sang along with me to every word.
Afterwards, I got to meet him face-to-face and he was as infectious and fun-loving as I’d expected.
After that, Martyn stayed in touch through social media and famously spent 24 hours on a Megabus travelling all the way up to Stirling to see my one-woman show, which I was totally blown away by, and told him exactly that when I met him after the show.
For his birthday last year, one of his friends contacted my management company and asked if I would sign a “Michelle-themed present” which was a section of my song, All This Time, in a waveform style, printed and framed for him to hang on his wall. I was utterly delighted to do it as I’d grown so very fond of Martyn - how could anyone that had met him not
However, it was my venture down to the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale, Greater Manchester, in March this year that I will forever be indebted to Martyn for.
My darling friend and writer Bruce Devlin had put me in contact with the centre last August and I was so utterly terrified at the prospect of taking my show across the border into England because of how my career had really fallen flat down there after winning Pop Idol all of those years ago.
I felt safe back home in Scotland, in my comfort zone, and I just didn’t feel I had the courage to put myself out there again UK-wide.
I mentioned the Waterside Arts Centre to Martyn and he was just so excited and assured me that he’d sell the whole evening out for me with just his mates alone.
I laughed and thanked him for the kind words but, one month later, I received a call from my manager to tell me the show had indeed sold out. Martyn had been true to his word and I was completely overwhelmed.
A few weeks before my show, he contacted my management to request an interview with me for the Manchester Evening News which I jumped at the chance to do and we chatted and laughed on the phone for nearly an hour.
A week or so later, the most beautiful article, written by Martyn about me, appeared online and I told him how much I loved it and that I’d never be able to thank him for all of his support.
Never did I imagine for a single second that only two months later I’d be sitting here writing an article about Martyn and what a wonderfully funny and caring person he was but that, tragically, he is no longer here because of a truly horrendous act of violence that took place in Manchester on Monday evening.
He was a beautiful 29-year-old man, adored and loved by so many and who, along with 21 other souls, lost their lives attending a pop concert.
Even writing that sentence makes me cry with the senselessness of it all. Why and how could this happen?
I can’t even begin to comprehend how Martyn’s friends and family and, of course, all the victims’ loved ones begin to cope with this devastation. Like the rest of the world, my thoughts and prayers are with them all.
I only knew Martyn for a short time but the impact he made on my life will never leave me.
He truly sparkled and I have no doubt he’ll forever now be the brightest star in the sky.
Good night, dear Martyn. I’ll be forever grateful I knew you. All This Time xxx