Why Chislehurst has a special reason to mourn

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The Independent Online

A Kent landowner could lose out on a huge pay-cheque as a result of Michael Jackson's death. Jackson had booked up to stay in Foxbury Manor in Chislehurst, moving its owners out to a pad in Orpington.

Residents were bracing themselves for a busy couple of weeks as the media circus rolled into town. An armada of reporters, staff, fans and plain hangers-on were set to interrupt their lives to mark Jackson's stay.

Sue Taylor, who lives a stone's throw from the Manor, said she had been excited about Jackson's visit but admitted she was worried about the possible intrusion his visit would bring.

"I'm a big fan, I had all of his LPs and now I have all of his albums on CD. When we first heard he was coming, I was a little apprehensive. This is a quiet, conservative town; I didn't want the world's media crawling all over it.

"But as I got used to the idea, I became more excited about it. Make no mistake, if he had come, I would have been there at the gate with my little stool and flag, cheering him on," she told The Independent.

Residents told how rumours had spread through the village that the troubled star had been briefly scared off staying at the Manor after he had heard it was haunted.

Regulars at a local pub, the Rambler's Rest, revealed how the village is not unused to celebrity visits.

"Because they know they will not be bothered here, a lot of footballers come in. As well as a few famous musicians," said one, who did not want to be named.

"Of course, Kent County Cricket ground is just across the road too. But this is a very close-knit and discreet community and we pride ourselves on just leaving them to it," she continued.

No-one at Foxbury Manor or its owners' Orpington home was available for comment.