The lure of their favourite actor, David Tennant, on stage in a Shakespeare comedy in London's West End proved irresistible to two AICR supporters from different continents who'd previously met only on Twitter.
It was through David Tennant that Tiffany McQuay from Southern California and Silvia Teixeira who lives in Portugal, learned of the vital international work being funded by the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR). David has been an ambassador for the Scottish-based charity for several years, providing invaluable support and encouragement.
“I was very happy to learn that AICR's work was not just benefiting Scotland but the whole world as well, including my country, Portugal. For me that sold the deal and AICR has since become one of the charities that I wholeheartedly support with a monthly contribution and by spreading the work on Twitter and other social networks.”
Tiffany said that finding out about AICR helped give her hope again after losing a dear friend to cancer. “Discovering AICR allowed me to support a cause I feel passionate about. I love the fact that it is an international organisation and not just restricted to one geographical area. I think that's wonderful, because cancer doesn't care where you come from and we can all help in the fight. Knowing that David Tennant is one of AICR's ambassadors really just makes me proud to be his fan. I know of his own personal loss and I must say that he has truly inspired me to take my grief and use it in a positive way. For that I will be eternally grateful.
Despite dire warnings from their families of the possible consequences of travelling such a long way to meet someone they didn't know, Tiffany and Silvia felt their online chats had given them a good idea of what each was like.
For Tiffany, an actor herself, David Tennant is her inspiration and the chance to see and perhaps meet him in the flesh was enough to overcome any misgivings and get her on that plane to what she describes as her “crazy” summer adventure.
“I have always wanted to visit the UK and upon hearing that David Tennant was going to be in Much Ado About Nothing, I about fell out of my chair. That is my favourite Shakespeare comedy and to watch David play Benedick would be a dream come true. Favourite actor, favourite Shakes play, in London? Yes, please!”
Fellow fan Silvia felt much the same:“My trip to London was motivated by the announcement that David Tennant was going to do a play during the summer which coincided with my holiday period. So back in January I made the decision to not only see one of my favourite actors live on stage in the West End (a first for me), but to visit my favourite city as well.
“It was a crazy and impulsive decision because at the time I had no one to go with me, as David is not that well known in Portugal and my friends were probably going to other places for their holidays, so finding a travelling companion was going to be difficult.”
Several Twitter conversations later, on August 6, the pair were in a hotel room in London, preparing for the first of three performances they'd booked. They hit it off from the start and say they'll never forget the week of sightseeing and theatre, in London that followed.
Their front row seats in Wyndhams Theatre allowed them an unrestricted view of their idol who was playing alongside his Dr Who companion and long-time friend, Catherine Tate.
Not only were they blown away by the performance, both 'fangirls' managed to talk to the star and get photos and autographs. “David was absolutely as lovely and polite as everyone had always said. Although he may never know this, he made my summer!” said Tiffany
Thanks to the ticket lottery that was held every morning, the friends were able to see Much Ado About Nothing three times.
Said Tiffany: “It was the best Shakespeare I have ever seen and words cannot express how happy I was to be in the audience. David and Catherine were obviously having a blast on-stage and the entire house was filled with happy energy.
“Thanks to this show I was able to not only meet Sil, but several other fan girls and AICR supporters from all around the world. It was just a magical trip, filled with the most lovely memories. I can't wait to go back. I always knew I'd fall in love with London and indeed I did. This was the summer trip of a lifetime and I admit that I shed a few tears as I was flying away.”