Britney Spears superfan from Hornchurch who died from brain tumour will have his story retold in New York Pop-Up event
PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:47 08 June 2019
A man from Hornchurch whose last wish was to have his collection of Britney Spears memorabilia donated to the popstar's museum will have his life story told in a New York Pop-Up magazine event.
Keith Collins was so desperate to see Britney before he died that he tried to runaway to Los Angeles in 2012.
Unfortunately his journey was unsuccessful, but his brother, Trevor Collins, and sister-in-law Nicola Collins, managed to fulfil his final wish of having his large Britney collection donated to the singer's exhibition in the Kentwood Museum in Louisiana.
The story of Keith and his collection will now be retold in a Pop-Up Magazine event that showcases reported stories in a creative way.
Keith lived in Hacton Lane until he was diagnosed with a brain cancer in 2012 at the age of 37.
"It was very serious and he was given three months to live [in March] but he lived until February in 2013," said Nicola, also from Hacton Lane.
"My husband and brother-in-law don't have any parents so we looked after him until he was too ill.
"One of the things he really wanted to do was to send his huge Britney Spears collection [to the Kentwood Museum].
"He wanted to pack up the collection himself, but he had a seizure while he was in the post office in Romford. Everything was left in the post office when he was taken to hospital."
While Keith was in the hospital, Nicola and Trevor were able to finish packaging up his collection and the museum sent pictures to confirm everything had arrived safely.
Speaking about seeing his collection in the museum, Nicola said: "He was quite emotional about it.
"He was so used to having his Britney things that I had to go and buy him some DVDs.
"We think he went to every Britney gig on her UK tour in 2011. He had back stage passes and special access tickets."
Nicola, 47, and her husband, 48, looked after Keith until he died a year after his diagnosis in 2013.
His brain tumour meant that it wasn't always easy keeping an eye on the Britney superfan.
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"We had no idea he was ill at first and then we discovered that about 20per cent of his brain area was tumour. I couldn't believe it," said Nicola.
"In July 2012 he tried to run away to LA to find Britney. We'd taken his passport but somehow he got another one and a visa.
"He managed to get through airport security with pots and pans in a backpack and no hand luggage,
"The problem arose when he kept trying to get on the wrong plane and then ended up trying to go through a security door.
"If he had got on that plane, I don't think we would have ever seen him again."
Heathrow Airport police officers contacted his family and made sure that he got back home safely.
Nicola described Keith as a "real character" and explained he was deaf but was able to hear using hearing aids.
The Britney fan attended Hacton Primary School and Sanders Draper and his last job was working for the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall.
Nicola added: "He was quite unique. There was only one Keith.
"He seemed to have touched a lot of people in his life - through the Britney forums, and people have mentioned him and his collection in reviews of the Kentwood museum.
"Revisiting his story has been quite emotional. It's something we always wanted to do, but after he died it was still quite raw.
"We really miss him."
Alison Fensterstock, a New Orleans journalist, discovered Keith's collection at the museum and will be telling his story in the Pop-Up Magazine show at the Skirball Theatre, Manhattan on June 22.
The show is a live magazine that retells reported stories to the accompaniment of orchestras, films, pictures, and radio clips.
Sadly Keith never got to meet Britney, however Nicola said they're aware that Britney's mum and sister have visited the exhibition in Kentwood and saw Keith's collection.
Nicola and Trevor set up the Keiths Collins Fund in his name.