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Chants of 'We Want Tom' await Olympic diver Tom Daley at Bluewater
Two-thousand hysterical Tom Daley fans waited for hours to meet the Olympic diving sensation at Bluewater on Thursday (August 16). Reporter ABI RUTTER investigates.
CHANTS of “We Want Tom” echoed around Bluewater before the Olympic bronze medallist arrived to sign copies of his book at Waterstone’s.
The queue outside the store was closed off before 10:30am, as management decided there were already too many fans waiting to meet the 18-year-old.
Officers from Kent Police were even called in to control crowds while some youngsters eschewed sleep for a chance to get close to their idol, arriving at the shopping centre from 1:30am.
Dartford Grammar School for Girls pupil Lily King, 14, arrived with her best friend Jessica Boreham, who goes to St Catherine’s School in Bexleyheath, at the shopping centre at 3.30am to get a prime spot in the queue outside Waterstones.
Lily said: “He is an inspiration, he’s everything – he tries hard at his schoolwork and his Olympic career. And he’s really good looking.
She added: “I’m going to give him my love letter.”
Jessica, 14, added: “We want to see his abs.”
Luckily, the ab-hunting youngsters found talent elsewhere in 20-year-old Syfee Muhith, the topless model having photos taken with shoppers outside nearby Gilly Hicks.
He said: “The girls screamed when the doors to Waterstone’s opened, they were crying with excitement when they came out shouting ‘he touched me, he touched me.’ “People were so excited. I was thinking ‘I’m going to look like an idiot standing here in my trunks all day.”
Mr Muhith says he had 500 topless Polaroid photos taken with screaming girls on Thursday (August 16), more than double the number taken on a normal working day.
However it was not smiles all round as some disappointed fans waited four hours in the queue, yet failed to meet the diver.
Ellie Crooks, 17, arrived at Bluewater at 9.15am, having travelled all the way from Ashford.
She said: “It wasn’t handled that well - they were letting people in slowly and then they let lots of people through at once because Tom said he had to leave in 10 minutes.
“We felt sorry for the man holding the ‘end of queue’ sign because security were saying to him ‘stand there, stand here.’”
Miss Crooks, who remains hopeful of obtaining her idol’s signature, added: “I’m getting the book this week and I’m going to send it to Tom and see if he will sign it.”