When she heard that Billy Ocean was playing nearby, cancer patient Lisa Bracewell’s friend Tracy Heatley snapped up front row tickets as a surprise gift for when she had recovered from her treatment.
Beautician Lisa, of Oswaldtwistle, had been looking forward to seeing him live for the first time at a festival in Lytham last August, but was unable to go after being diagnosed with breast cancer in June.
When Ocean performed at the Lowry in Salford Quays on April 17, Tracy was there, but tragically mum-of-two Lisa was not – following her death in September, aged just 43.
But in a touching tribute, the R&B icon Billy Ocean dedicated his hit song ‘Caribbean Queen’ to Lisa.
Addressing the crowd, Ocean said: “Lisa and her friend bought tickets for this show many months ago, but unfortunately Lisa passed away.
“When I do Caribbean Queen it will be in memory of Lisa. I’ve always thought when you go, you go to a better place and I’m sure she’s up there having a good time.”
The 67-year-old star, who had a string of international pop hits in the 1970s and 80s then embraced an emotional Tracy at the edge of the stage before performing his classic number.
Tracy’s partner David Gould had decided to try to have Lisa remembered at the event, which he attended with Tracy and Lisa’s parents Ann and Stephen Bracewell.
David contacted the singer on Facebook and asked if it would be possible to dedicate Caribbean Queen, Lisa’s favourite track.
Tracy, 44, of Loveclough, said it was an “amazing” moment.
She said: “I had no idea that David had arranged it. Lisa absolutely idolised Billy Ocean to the point, when she was dying, she couldn’t talk, she couldn’t open her eyes but when we played his music she would sing along. It was very emotional. Caribbean Queen was her all-time favourite song.”
After the gig Ocean asked to meet Lisa’s family and friends properly.
Tracy added: “He was a really lovely, genuine guy and I showed him a photo of Lisa and told him what he meant and how important his music was to her.
“He was quite moved by that. I know Lisa didn’t regret much in life, but her one regret was that she never got to see Billy Ocean perform.
“I felt like we were representing her, and now he knows who she was and I know he won’t forget her. It keeps her memory alive.”
Mum to twins Liam and Kurt, and sister to Gemma, Lisa owned a salon in Rawtenstall for more than ten years.