In the week, Diane Wade wears a smart business suit to her job as a college lecturer, but at the weekend she transforms herself into a self-confessed, leather-clad rock chick.
Diane, of Copley, Halifax, is fanatical about rock music and has followed her musical idols round the world.
She is friends with Alice Cooper and Jackson Browne and has met numerous rock stars including Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople, Paul Rodgers, Steve Miller, David Coverdale and Tony Iommi.
Now Diane is celebrating her love of rock music by organising a special fund-raising concert for the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust. Diane is a trustee of the charity, named in the memory of the former Brighouse schoolgirl Laura Crane, and has experienced at first hand the trauma of teenage cancer.
“Three young people in my family group suffered from cancer as teenagers including my daughter Ciaran who had lymphoma several years ago. It is horrible to see the impact it has on young lives,” said Diane, who teaches management studies at Kirklees College and is also a qualified counsellor.
“Like a lot of charities at the moment, the trust is going through a difficult time and I just wanted to do something to raise money to help young people who are suffering from cancer. We have three great tribute bands and it’s going to be one helluva fun night.”
Diane has been a fan of rock music since she was a 14-year-old student at Crossley Heath Grammar School and was able to persuade her parents to let her and her friends travel to gigs. “I went all over the country and saw hundreds of bands. I always felt safe and just loved the noise and excitement - and I still do.”
Diane lives at Copley with her husband Steve who is just as mad about rock music as she is. Their home is decorated with pictures signed by their rock idols and they frequently travel to gigs and festivals in the UK - and further afield.
“There’s something about going to a live gig that just energises you completely. I’m passionate about guitar music and you’ll always find me somewhere near the front having the time of my life. It’s just the best feeling in the world.
“During the week I’m in my pinstripe suit but when I go to gigs I completely embrace the rock chick look - to the extent that I design my own leather clothes and have them specially made. I feel that I have three times as much energy as many people in their 20s.”
Diane’s three children - Ciaran, Rohan and Warwick - do not share their mum’s passion for rock music but fully support her work for the Laura Crane Trust. She became a trustee in 2010 and is committed to raising the profile of the charity.
“Having known three young people who were affected by teenage cancer in one way or another, I know how awful it can be at the time. Teenage cancers can develop very quickly and affect young people at a time when they should be getting the most out of life.”
The first We Rock concert will be held at the Holmfirth Picturedrome on Friday, May 31 at 7.30pm. Peter Carr, owner of the Picturedrome, has donated the use of the venue for the evening and the three tribute acts to Jimi Hendrix, Tom Petty and Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music are also giving their services.
“The Picturedrome is a great venue for live music and I am so grateful to the three acts for their support. Tickets are £12 for three hours of great rock music.”
Laura Crane was studying for her GCSEs at Brighouse High School in 1995 when she was taken ill with four types of cancer, three of them very aggressive, and she became an extremely rare case.
Despite undergoing major surgery, she died in May 1996, just two weeks after her 17th birthday.
Set up by her family after her death, the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust is the only UK charity funding medical research specifically into cancer affecting teenagers and young adults.
l Tickets for the We Rock concert are available from the trust on 01484 510013, online from www.lauracranetrustshop.org or from Vinyl Tap in Huddersfield.