It really was a “reem” come true for fans of reality television when one of their favourite stars came to Kirkham to sign his new book.
Fans of The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE), which follows the scripted fortunes of seemingly ordinary members of the public, were delighted when Joey Essex - who appears in the show - turned up at Silverdell bookshop, on Poulton Street, to sign copies of his autobiography Being Reem.
A crowd of more than 300 queued up in heavy rain to meet the aptly named Essex, who the hoards of teenage girls waiting to meet him describe as their “idol”.
Among them was 12-year-old Grace Crompton, from Moor Street in the town.
Grace had queued outside the shop from 3pm and even had to buy a coat from a nearby charity shop to keep her warm while she waited to meet Joey, who is well known for his catchphrase “reem” (an Essex dialect word which means good).
Grace, who cried with joy throughout her meeting with Joey and was almost lost for words afterwards, said: “It was really good. I’m looking forward to reading it.”
Amy Moloney, 14, from Leyland, was first in the queue.
She said: “He’s my idol. He’s just really amazing and so caring for all his fans.”
Amy, an avid reader of books by reality television stars, added: “I get a lot of the TOWIE ones but I had to get this one because it was Joey’s.”
Jessica Manton, 15, from Preston Old Road, Clifton, said: “It was amazing and I’ve got butterflies in my belly.
“I’m just looking forward to reading it and seeing what he’s written about himself.”
But it’s more than just his mere presence that attracted fans to the signing.
Jess Jones, 15, from Lower Lane, Freckleton, said: “He’s just funny and I like the style of his clothes.”
And Ceri Saunders, 21, who travelled hundreds of miles from Aylsebury, in Buckinghamshire, for the signing explained her own particular reason for turning up.
She said: “I just like how he likes monkeys because my nickname’s actually monkeys.
“I’m just looking forward to reading it to know more about him.”
Joey, 23, said: “It’s an autobiography, me growing up as a young kid from what I can remember. Since I’ve come into the limelight I’ve always had stuff written about me which isn’t true.
“This book is to put things straight and say it how it is.
“Sometimes it was hard, sometimes it was easy, so there’s a lot of ups and downs in the book.”
Commenting on the hundreds who had turned up to see him, he added: “It’s madness to see every single fan round this area outside the shop.
“It’s amazing for me and it’s nice to see the fans supporting me. I really appreciate it.”
Silverdell co-owner Elaine Silverwood had even created a fruity flavour of ice-cream called Joey’s Reem for the occasion which Joey described as “reem” upon tasting it.
She said: “We were chuffed to get him. We knew he’d be friendly and happy but he’s having fun.
“The local police have been saying the town is just buzzing. The whole town’s been benefiting because the other local shops have been getting customers in too.”