‘Best night ever for Ossett when comedian John Bishop comes to town’

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Comedy fans queued for up to six hours to get their hands on tickets to see funnyman John Bishop, after a two-year long campaign to bring him to Ossett.

All 1,000 tickets for his two gigs at Ossett Town Hall on May 10 sold out within ten minutes of going on sale at town centre businesses this week. Dozens of people lined the streets ahead of the first batch being released on Saturday morning.

Comedian John Bishop.

Comedian John Bishop.

And crowds packed into the precinct for a second time to secure their spot in the comedian’s audience, when the remaining tickets went up for grabs on Wednesday.

Debbie Squires, of Squires Family Deli, which sold tickets alongside Ellercoffee and Dean Austerfield Flooring, said: “It was an absolutely fabulous atmosphere. People had brought camping gear, their dogs and some were in their pyjamas. I think Ossett has such a good community spirit. Everybody was cheering each other when they got their tickets and people had made friends in the queue . It was all really good camaraderie.”

Lynn Edmondson, a carer for disabled people at Ossett’s York House residential home, was first in the queue on Saturday, bagging her place at 3am - nearly six hours before tickets went on sale.

She said: “I was just so excited about it, I couldn’t sleep and I kept thinking people would already be queueing up and I would miss out. So I thought I’d go down there and get my place not thinking I would be the first one there. It was a really good atmosphere.

“I can’t believe I’ve got my hands on some. I tried to get tickets for his big arena tour but wasn’t able to and for him to actually be here in Ossett is amazing. The atmosphere will be brilliant in a smaller venue too. I’m over the moon.”

Kind-hearted Mrs Edmondson joined the queue for a second time on Wednesday to get tickets for two disabled people and carers from her workplace, who were unable to wait in line.

Local businesses are now rallying round to give her a day to remember ahead of the show.She will be given a new outfit, hair, make up and nails pampering sessions, flowers and meals.

“I feel a bit embarrassed but I’m chuffed to bits and really looking forward to it,” she said.

“I’m just really glad that the people who worked so hard to organise this have done so. It is absolutely fantastic. And the Ossett people have been a credit.”

Ossett resident Howard Lawton was the brainchild behind the two-year campaign to bring Mr Bishop to the town.

He said: “I have always thought that Ossett Town Hall was really under-utilised for events.

“It obviously has a lot of different things happening from music nights to plays, tribute bands and community events. But I thought because of the nature of the venue, it could support an A-list act.

“I just thought it would be great for people to have that in Ossett right on their doorstep.”

Mr Lawton and his wife Debbie travel across the country to see music and comedy shows and have watched Scouse-funnyman Mr Bishop in various venues.

Mr Lawton has even had a drink with the star following a show at Leeds City Varieties.

“I just thought he was the kind of act that would be great for Ossett,” he said. “So I had this quirky idea of starting the ‘Unofficial: John Bishop Ossett Town Hall’ Facebook page and trying to make it happen.

“I wanted to put the feelers out and see who would be interested and the support grew and grew.”

He secured the backing of more than a thousand members of the community who liked and shared the page. And he began writing to Mr Bishop’s team to show them the demand and request the comedian used the venue to try out his material ahead of his arena tour later this year.

Initially, the date was set for one performance but when Mr Bishop saw the page himself and the demand for tickets, a second was arranged for the same day.

Mr Lawton said: “To think two years ago I had this quirky idea and now it has ended up in John Bishop actually coming and people queuing up at 3am in the morning to get tickets. If there was a dream come true, that’s it for me. To see the smiles on people’s faces and how happy and pleased everyone is, is tremendous.

“It’s bringing the community together and it will be great for business.

“Someone did say it is probably the biggest thing to ever happen in Ossett and I want it to be the best night ever in the town and the best gig that John Bishop has ever done. I just now hope that more big names will follow.”