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Eurovision fans still show their Devotion to our East Anglian Belle

PUBLISHED: 18:00 17 May 2019

Belle and the Devotions, taken in 2019.  Picture: KIT ROLFE

Belle and the Devotions, taken in 2019. Picture: KIT ROLFE

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Eurovision star of the 1980s Kit Rolfe has gained a whole new generation of younger fans who are excited by the song contest.

Kit Rolfe of Halstead, centre, with Laura James, left, and Linda Sofield of London, as Eurovision Song Contest entrants Belle and the Devotions in April 1984Kit Rolfe of Halstead, centre, with Laura James, left, and Linda Sofield of London, as Eurovision Song Contest entrants Belle and the Devotions in April 1984

"I get fans contacting me on Facebook who weren't even born when we were in it," said Kit, from Halstead in north Essex.

She fronted Belle and the Devotions when they came seventh in Luxembourg in 1984 with their song Love Games.

With such high interest surrounding this year's contest in Tel Aviv, lead singer Kit and her former band-mates, Laura James and Louise Sofeld (who was known as Linda in the 1980s), are about to sing together live for the first time since those days. They will be a star attraction at the Manchester Eurovision Party 2019, being held in the city's Barpop on Saturday to celebrate the final.

Clips of the group's songs have appeared on the internet and helped to build up a strong following, who collect their old records.

"Eurovision has really become fashionable again," Kit said, adding: "The gay community have taken it to their heart, as well as a lot of other people."

Horses are Kit's other passion apart from music, and she runs a livery stables near Halstead, which she describes as a seven-day-a-week job.

But she also still regularly sings in London. "Until recently I was performing in London every weekend," she said. "I am a really busy person."

It has become clear over the years that Belle and the Devotions are seen as iconic, and remembered where many other Eurovision acts have been forgotten. "I'm described in the publicity for Saturday as 'the legendary Kit Rolfe!'," Kit said.

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"We have even been mentioned in a question on Pointless, and I've been told that we are in lots of pub quizzes."

Looking back at the videos of the group in the 1980s, she modestly admitted the others were better dancers than her. "I can't believe I managed to do all the moves!"

Kit has previously performed at some Eurovision parties on her own, but she said: "This time, when they contacted me, I said, why don't we all do it?"

For a while the three singers, who always got on well, had drifted out of touch, because they all live in different areas. But now they have been back in contact for several years, thanks to Facebook, and they meet up two or three times a year.

Kit admits that current entries are not always to her taste, saying, "I think Eurovision's great, but I find some of the staging and outfits a bit strange."

However, she does get irritated by those who take a snobby attitude towards the contest.

Looking back, she said: "We had a lot of fun - there are a lot of great memories. We went on TV in Germany and Poland. We did Musikladen in Germany, which was the equivalent of Top of the Pops."

She said, in retrospect, the group chose to move to the wrong record company and were not promoted as well as they should have been.

But, 35 years on, their music still has a great following.

At their reunion for the Eurovision party, the group will perform Love Games and another well-remembered hit single, Where Did Love Go Wrong, as well as another Eurovision song which is being kept under wraps until the night.

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