Woman's Neverland visit tribute to Michael Jackson
A woman is due to make an emotional return to pop star Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch today - a week after he died suddenly.While in Belton Jayne Ross, 48, headed the Michael Jackson World Network (MJWN) and spoke this week of her heartbreak at the return visit to the “beautiful, tranquil” place she had visited twice before.
A woman is due to make an emotional return to pop star Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch today - a week after he died suddenly.
While in Belton Jayne Ross, 48, headed the Michael Jackson World Network (MJWN) and spoke this week of her heartbreak at the return visit to the “beautiful, tranquil” place she had visited twice before.
Her visit comes as preparations are made to bury the pop genius on Sunday.
She said: “It is sad, not only the circumstances of the trip, but his death has changed so much- all the happier memories have all gone.”
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On both previous occasions, she was invited to the secluded Californian ranch in her capacity as president of the global fan club, which has 10,000 subscribers. The second time she was invited in person by Jackson after helping to organise his 45th birthday party.
The mother-of-two, who lived in Belton for over 20 years, remembered big TV screens in the grounds, known as Jumbotrons, which played Disney cartoons.
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Mrs Ross also stayed in the mansion's guest section, though not in the pop star's own living quarters, which were separate.
The last week has been hectic for the former chairman of Belton playgroup who has had to deal with thousands of e-mails from fans across the world, many of whom were in a distressed state after the superstar's death following a suspected heart attack last Thursday.
She said the club aimed to provide a comforting ear for all fans who wanted to speak about their sorrow at the pop star's death and had set up a condolence page on its website.
A tribute gig is also being planned by the club, which could be held at a London theatre though plans are still at an early stage.
She first became a fan of the pop star when she was living in Selwyn Drive, Belton with her oil rig worker husband Alan, 56 and went with a friend to see Jackson perform at Wembley in 1993.
Mrs Ross, a former chairman of Belton playgroup, was motivated by Jackson's humanitarian message to become an official volunteer with the Heal the World Foundation, the charity founded by the pop star to help less fortunate people around the world.
From there, she moved on to become president of MJWN.
She met her hero in 2003 when he thanked her for helping to arrange his 45th birthday party in Los Angeles.
But the occasion proved to be even bigger for her youngest son Callum, 14, because the pop star decided he wanted the youngster's “MJ45” jacket which had been specially made for the party and sent one of his aides to collect it.
“He said thank you for arranging the party and he was very sweet and very nice. He met my youngest son Callum for the first time and shook his hand and said thank you for coming.
“We had special jackets made with the logo on for his birthday- MJ45- and Callum was wearing one. Initially he was shocked that Michael Jackson wanted it because he did not know what to do or whether to give his jacket away. Then he was telling all his friends Michael Jackson took my jacket!” she said.
Mrs Ross, who has another son Ashley, 26, left Belton to move to her current home in Aberdeen because of her husband's job with oil and gas well management firm Expro.
But she has fond memories of her time in the area, particularly the chips from the stalls in Yarmouth Market Place.
“The people were really nice, especially way back when I first moved there in 1979 and the area was in its heyday and I miss going down the seafront. There was just something nice about the place and it will always be special to us,” Miss Ross added.