Story of Britney Spears superfan features in new biography of star

Keith Collins, whose Britney Spears memorabilia collection is on display at Kentwood Museum in the singer's hometown.

Keith Collins, whose Britney Spears memorabilia collection is on display at Kentwood Museum in the singer's hometown. - Credit: The Brain Tumour Charity

A Britney Spears superfan from Hornchurch features in a new book on the star. 

Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, author of Being Britney: Pieces of a Modern Icon, discovered Keith Collins’ story while researching the origin of Spears memorabilia in the Kentwood Museum in the singer’s home town. 

Keith’s collection – which includes a large painting he made of the singer – was donated to the museum after he was diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2012, aged 38. 

Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, author of Being Britney: Pieces of a Modern Icon

Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, author of Being Britney: Pieces of a Modern Icon - Credit: Brandon Bishop

Jennifer recalled how she reached out to Keith’s sister-in-law Nicola Collins and brother Trevor Collins, who helped her become aware of “the whole way Britney had impacted his life and sickness”. 

“She was kind of the girlfriend ideal,” she said. 

“Because he was reaching after the unattainable in longing after a celebrity, it allowed him to push himself further than he probably would have done before in terms of travelling and opening himself up to new experiences.” 

Jennifer, who has 30 years working in the music industry and a PhD studying fandom, said part of Britney’s unique appeal to fans such as Keith was her accessibility. 

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She said: “The thing about Britney is because she comes from a humble background and she's not overly educated, she is quite accessible in that way. 

“Of course, she’s a multi-multi-millionaire, she’s stunningly beautiful, but she has still that relatability to people because of those roots that I think really connects with a wide audience.” 

Keith Collins as a child

Keith Collins as a child - Credit: The Brain Tumour Charity

Jennifer said she was surprised to find nobody had written a scholarly work on Britney, despite that “she has been woven into the material of people’s lives in so many ways, even if it's just background noise”. 

Keith had wanted to meet Britney before he died and had unsuccessfully tried to organise a visit to Los Angeles in order to do so. 

Sister-in-law Nicola said he had been “very emotional” to see photographs of his memorabilia in the Kentwood Museum before he died in February 2013. 

Keith Collins from Hornchurch amassed a large Britney Spears collection which he donated to the Brit

Keith Collins from Hornchurch's large Britney Spears collection at the Britney Spears exhibition in Kentwood, Louisiana. - Credit: Kentwood Museum

Keith Collins from Hornchurch amassed a large Britney Spears collection which he donated to the Brit

Keith donated the Britney Spears collection to the Kentwood Museum, Louisiana. - Credit: Kentwood Museum

Keith Collins from Hornchurch amassed a large Britney Spears collection which he donated to the Brit

Keith Collins from Hornchurch amassed a large Britney Spears collection - Credit: Kentwood Museum

The family have spent the years since his death raising nearly £6,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity through The Keith Collins Fund. 

Jennifer described Keith’s family as “beautiful, lovely people” and said he was “someone who can teach all of us how to live life to the fullest”. 

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