Superstar singer-songwriter Sam Smith provided Keswick and parts of Eden with a surprise post-lockdown boost.
The multi-award-winning artist, who has 15 million followers on Instagram, was happy to pose for photos with staff and customers at the Lakeland Spice restaurant in Main Street, Keswick, while eating tandoori chicken and lamb tikka masala.
Smith, who is reportedly worth £33 million after six UK number ones including Writing’s On The Wall for the James Bond film Spectre, also polished off a pint in the beer garden at the Oddfellows Arms pub on Market Square, accompanied by two female friends.
Smith is gender neutral and does not believe in male or female pronouns, preferring to use they.
“They booked a table and were really nice,” said Abul Monsur, manager at the Lakeland Spice. “Sam had a cigarette outside and we had half of Keswick in here when word got around.
“They were talking to me for a bit. It was their first time in Keswick and their first holiday after lockdown. They left a nice tip on the card — very nice. I have met a few celebrities and they were by far the most polite and well-mannered,” added Abul.
Marc McAdam was even more impressed when he and his friend Marie caught up with the A-list celebrity in the Oddfellows’ beer garden.
“I am a massive fan. I’ve got all of their stuff. When I found they was in Keswick, I got myself along. They were sat outside. We sat at the table next to them, but we didn’t hassle them. They were really nice, just having a pint.
“It was the first time I’d been out to a pub since lockdown. We have all been a bit stir crazy and we are all just trying to get back to normal.
“We have got to support our local pubs and shops, so it’s good that someone like Sam Smith is coming to Keswick and showing you can go out, have a good time and be safe,” said Marc, 45, who is a carpet salesman in Keswick.
During their trip, the famous singer also called in at the Catstycam outdoor shop in Glenriding, where they posed for a photo with manager Georgia Roper and her son Jamie.
Georgia said: “It was a shock. When they walked in, I said hello then realised who they were. They were lovely and really chatty. They bought some clothes too. We do have celebrities come in as a lot of them like walking.”
She added that last week, film and TV actor Andy Serkis, who was Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was shopping in the store.
Smith’s first two albums, In the Lonely Hour and The Thrill Of It All, were both UK number ones and a third album is due to be released this year.