A BACUP punk band hosted an online T-shirt giveaway only to find that the lucky winner was none other than town’s very own international opera star.
Famed tenor Sean Ruane is a fan of the Riflemen of War on Facebook and when they decided to choose one of their fans at random and offer them a free T-shirt, it was his name that was plucked from the 270-strong army of supporters.
Down-to-earth Sean turned up at the band’s gig, in Burnley Wood Club, on Sunday evening to collect the T-shirt for himself, and even posed for pictures with the band.
Keith Roscoe, who sings and plays rhythm guitar in the band, said he first met Sean at Bacup Cricket Club a number of years ago when Sean had been booked to perform.
The 52-year-old musician said: “He’s a Rossendale lad, and a lovely bloke.
“He’s been to see us play a couple of times, but not recently because he is so busy with performing. Every time we get 50 likes on Facebook, we pick a name at random and that person gets a T-shirt.
“It’s just a bit of fun, and something to encourage people to like the page.
“Anyway, this time it was Sean who was the lucky recipient.
“When we told him he’d won, he said he’d come down to the gig and get his T-shirt, so that was brilliant.
“Opera is a bit different to the kind of stuff we play, but Sean seems to have a good appreciation of music of all kinds, and he seems to like the stuff we belt out. Maybe he’s got a tin ear.”
Sean is one of the rising stars of the opera world, but he started his musical career in a rock band, hoping to be the next Bono.
But, after falling in love with classical opera, the singer tra-velled to Puccini’s villa, in Tuscany, to study at the composer’s prestigious academy, and has since performed at some of the world’s most renowned venues.
But Sean still lives in East Lancashire and recently performed a rousing rendition of Nessum Dorma for delegates at a World Cup-themed networking event at Rossendale Golf Club.