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Disabled fans claim they were treated as 'second rate citizens' at Take That gig

PUBLISHED: 08:45 01 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:18 01 June 2019

Take That, Carrow Road, Norwich, 2019. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Take That, Carrow Road, Norwich, 2019. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

Take That fans left on a "sour note" after they were moved to the pitch after sound issues in the disabled access area.

After sound issues in the disabled access area at Carrow Road fans were moved onto the pitch Credit: Sue BraceAfter sound issues in the disabled access area at Carrow Road fans were moved onto the pitch Credit: Sue Brace

Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald performed at Carrow Road on Thursday night to 28,000 fans for their Odyssey greatest hits tour.

For many it was a memorable night as the trio returned to the city two years on from their Wonderland Tour in 2017, but fans who had purchased tickets to the accessible area claim they were treated as "second rate citizens".

The chief operating officer at Norwich City Ben Kensell said he is aware of the issues in the disability seating area and will be discussing these with the promoters.

Wheelchair and ambulant tickets to the show were allocated to an enclosed area at the back of the ground behind glass and needed to be purchased in advance directly from the club.

Take That, Carrow Road, Norwich, 2019. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodTake That, Carrow Road, Norwich, 2019. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

However, when support act Rick Astley took to the stage, they were unable to hear the music as the speakers in the area weren't working.

Pauline Laybourne, 52, from Hoveton, had booked tickets for the section as she has breathing problems so needs oxygen strapped to her and when they were eventually moved it was to an area where they couldn't see the stage.

Mrs Laybourne said: "When we first got there we were given lovely seats opposite the stage but when Rick came on we could only hear muffling and when we told security staff there was no sound were told we had to stay there.

"I might as well have gone to the car park in Morrisons and heard it from there.

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"There was also a poor lady in a wheelchair who was told she had to go down two steps to get to her seat but she couldn't get out her chair.

"Someone from security then said they were getting the manager and then we were moved down to the pitch at the back and all we could see was people in the crowd.

"We completely missed Rick Astley and a few of the people in wheelchairs left.

"I then said that I couldn't stand up and there was another partially blind man who couldn't stand either and we were then moved down to the dugout area near the back where we couldn't see anything either and as it was when Take That was coming on I had to push through the crowd.

"I was very upset for myself but more for the people in the wheelchairs as the majority couldn't walk and stayed on the pitch.

"I left on a sour note and although the concert was good this is what I will remember."

Chief Operating Officer, Ben Kensell said: "The club is aware of some customer service issues from last night's concert with Take That.

"The complaints surrounded sound issues in the disability seating area and sight-line issues which will be discussed with the promoters.

"With the size of the event, we appreciate there will always be a small amount of people experiencing issues however we are pleased that the majority had a fantastic night at Carrow Road."

Mrs Laybourne's friend Sue Brace, 60, from Felixstowe, tweeted Take That during the show: "Absolutely furious the way disabled fans are treated at your concert. We are not second rate citizens.

"No sound in the disabled area. Now in area no one can see! Just put us wherever. No voice no opinion just disabled fans."

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