Dani’s wizard treat for Gregory before he departs for Oz
Nine-year-old Gregory Bloom and his TV idol Dani Harmer have something in common; they’re both going to Oz this winter – albeit different ones.
While 22-year-old Dani is starring in The Wizard of Oz at the Regent, the Broke Hall Primary school pupil is emigrating to Australia next month.
Gregory’s been a fan of the Tracy Beaker and Dani’s House star for years so, to make moving halfway around the world easier, mum Nikki decided to try to arrange a surprise meeting.
“He was like ‘if we emigrate I’m never ever going to get to meet her’. He is so excited as this year’s panto has Dani in it,” she said. “I contacted the Regent back in October to see if he could meet her so I’ve had to keep it quiet since then; I’ve been dying to tell him.”
Picking him up from school early, Nikki told him she had to come into town to see the dentist and collect their tickets for Saturday’s performance of the pantomime.
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Awestruck at coming face to face with his idol, who posed with him for photographs and gave him a signed pnatomime poster, Gregory said: “I was pretty amazed. My mum tricked me. They [the cast] were doing the dancing, turned around and I saw Dani Harmer. It was amazing to meet her. She’s very nice,” he said beaming from ear to ear.
The family decided to move to Perth for a better life. Nikki’s husband, Matt, is an electrician – a skill in demand Down Under.
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“These opportunities don’t come along too often. When the recession first started to hit you could see what was going to happen,” said Matt.
Their stuff is already on the way to their new home, ready for when they leave Britain on January 7.
“We’ve been to Australia four times so we’ve got a good idea of what’s happening over there; it’s a growing country and we’ve got relatives and friends there. I think the prospects out there for Gregory are a lot better,” says Matt.
The Wizard of Oz runs at the Regent from December 17-23.
See my interview with Dani Harmer, also online.