News:

The Jimi Hendrix story that made headlines across the world

Picture Caption: Anthea Connell and the note penned by guitar legend Jimi Hendrix.

Rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix sparked a rollercoaster ride for a Nottingham woman who found herself on 120 news websites all over the world and on TV – thanks to the magic of a rock icon who died nearly 50 years ago.

A media frenzy was sparked when Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire revealed that Anthea Connell, 69, from West Bridgford, was selling a personal autographed note penned for her by Jimi in 1967.

Now, with the note due to go under the hammer on October 23, Anthea has revealed just what happened after news emerged that she had briefly captivated Hendrix at a gig at The Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome.

Back in March 1967, he leapt off the stage to speak to her and then wrote on a guitar strings packet, ‘To Anthea. Love and kisses to you forever. I wish I could really talk to you. Stay sweet. Jimi Hendrix’.

Such was the media frenzy when news broke of her magical moment with Hendrix, Anthea is still recovering from what she calls ‘seven days of fame’.

The mother-of-two, now retired from her job in Student Support Services at Nottingham Trent University,said: “Apart from meeting Jimi in person, way back in 1967, I can’t think of anything more exciting, exhilarating, exhausting or nerve-wracking than the attention I received from the media when the news was released that I was about to auction his autograph.

“When I emailed Hansons back in August I had absolutely no idea the lovely signed message which Jimi gave me 50 years ago would cause such a sensation.

“I’m still reeling from the enormity of the interest which has been shown. My quiet life became a whirl of phone call requests to speak to reporters and radio and TV presenters.

“A photographer from a news agency arrived early one morning to take pictures of me. Good job I managed to grab a shower and apply a liberal layer of make up before he got here.

“For one whole week I felt a bit like Paris Hilton - minus the curves, the Louis Vuitton luggage and the miniature dog, of course.

“It’s been utterly gobsmacking how widely I’ve appeared in the press. Some of the headlines caused much mirth in our household, especially with my friends.

“They ranged from the Metro who called me a ‘foxy lady’ - much appreciated if not particularly accurate these days; The Daily Express described me as “a pensioner” which, sadly, I can’t argue with, and the New York Post referred to me as “a little old lady” - a bit harsh I thought. I do go to the gym regularly and boast all my own teeth.

“My ‘fame’ has even reached far flung places on the other side of the world. I’m still baffled about how I managed to feature in a publication in Moldova - I don’t even know where that is on the map! Did Jimi ever go on tour there? However, the best outcome of all is I gained massive kudos in the eyes of my kids and their friends by featuring in that bible of the music industry, the NME!

“The radio presenters I spoke to were all great and easy to chat with. The funniest conversation I had was with a presenter at Radio Newcastle who asked me, tongue-in-cheek, if I thought I might have ended up as Mrs Hendrix! Errrr hardly!

“Life is now getting back to normal. No-one has recognised me on the bus or the tram so I must assume that my short-lived fame in the press has well and truly been consigned to fish and chip wrappers.

“Never mind, I did have a brush with it and, hopefully, with the amount of interest it has raised the autograph will fetch a good price. I sincerely hope it will go to someone who will cherish it and perhaps display it. I never felt I could put it properly on display in case it got stolen. My memories, on the other hand, can never be stolen and hopefully I’ll be able to take one last photograph of it as a keepsake.

“The money raised will go towards air tickets for a trip to New Zealand so my husband Steve and I can visit my cousin and his wife who live near Wellington. I hope Jimi would approve. It’s certainly a bit more rock ‘n’ roll than buying a new boiler or double glazing.

“After the auction we’ll certainly raise a glass of Champagne to his memory and his stunning music which continues to cross the generations and has massive appeal to this day.”

That Jim Hendrix note, plus autographs from Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, fellow members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, will be sold at a music memorabilia auction at Hansons Auctioneers, in Etwall, Derbyshire, on October 23. The estimate is £2,000-£3,000. To find out more, call 01283 733988 or email[email protected].