Lindsay Lohan and Kettering: an unlikely pairing, thrown together by her “offensive” tweet about the town’s Brexit vote and again when she apparently agreed to switch-on the Christmas lights to make amends. On the working day of the big event, the Mean Girls star apologised to say she would not be able to make it. But what do residents construct of the tale?
In the onslaught of EU referendum stories in late June, there was one which seemed more unexpected than most.
Lindsay Lohan, the US actress famed for her roles in Parent Trap and Freaky Friday, weighed in on Twitter with her own kind of punditry by asking: “Sorry, but #KETTERING where are you? ” as 61% of its residents voted leave.
Before long, the tweet gained traction – to the point it was discussed in the House of Commons.
“Everyone was aware that Kettering is, ” the town’s MP, Philip Hollobone, told fellow legislators a few days after the now infamous tweet.
“It’s famous as the home of Weetabix breakfast cereal, Cheaney and Loakes shoes.
“And Kettering Town Football club has scored more goals in the history of the FA Cup than any other football team in the country.”
Mr Hollobone’s zeal to defend his town did not be brought to an end – he then invited the actress to switch on the town’s Christmas illuminations as a gesture of goodwill.
Much to the delight of the MP, she seemed to accept: “Would be happy to illuminated the Christmas tree”, she tweeted.
But subsequent make further efforts to track her down and hold her to her promise were met with a wall of stillnes, leaving former EastEnders actress Cheryl Fergison, who is appearing in a pantomime in the town, to do the honor instead.
The council said on Tuesday Lohan’s manager was checking her schedule and “may still turn up” to the event, but the actress subsequently posted a video apologising for not being able to make it.
Certainly, Mr Hollobone said he believed it was a mistake for the 30 -year-old actress to give the event a swerve.
But what do shoppers on Kettering’s autumnal streets think of the switch-on U-turn?
“I believe she should have maintained her promise, but I didn’t truly expect her to, ” said shop worker Anna Sye, 55.
“I suppose she’s had her own problems in their own lives so she probably said it and didn’t truly mean it.
“I can think of many more interesting celebrities we could have had. I believe George Clooney would have maintained his promise.”
Chris Hamilton, 24, says Lohan would have been built welcome by residents.
“It would have been nice for her to come – we don’t truly get big celebrities “re coming”. We had Jake Wood last year, but I wouldn’t mind session her.”
Council worker Talitha Reynolds, 16, was rather understanding about the travel involved.
“I think she should have kept her promise, but I didn’t really find her doing it – it’s quite a style to come to turn the sunlights on.”
However, sustainable fashion business owner Tom Cridland is rather more critical of the actress’ flip-flopping.
Asked if he had a message for Lohan, he replied: “Next hour you want to tweet something incredibly rude about somewhere and connote its citizens who have a different political opinion to you are irrelevant, I suggest you Google the place you haven’t heard of on your gold-plated iPhone and you could perhaps be better informed.”
Mr Cridland, 26, grew up in a village just outside the Northamptonshire town and is proud of his Kettering connections.
He founded his business there and now divides his time between his parents’ home and London.
“I couldn’t actually care less about people who ensure places like Kettering as irrelevant, ” he said.
“I think there’s more to life than that and I’m certainly at my most happy, productive, peaceful when I’m in this area.”
Nestled in Northamptonshire, Kettering shares a history – along with the rest of the district – of boot and shoe attaining William Timpson opened his first workshop in Kettering in 1884, a decade after opening his shoe shops, signalling a move into manufacturing Kettering Town FC count Paul Gascoigne is among its former managers. The former England player was at the helm for just 39 days in 2005 Wicksteed Park is the second-oldest theme park in the UK, and still includes one of the world’s first water-based rides, Waterchute – opened in 1926 – as one of its attractions