AMERICAN Ramona Mulligan has found happiness in Lancashire – thanks to her love of Bruce Springsteen.
After falling for a fellow fan on the singer’s website forum, she is now celebrating ten years of marriage.
Originally from southern California, Ramona moved to Chorley to be with Kirk – the love of her life.
The couple had only exchanged emails before she booked her flight.
“I used to think that people were crazy for meeting online, and even crazier to fly to another country to meet someone whom they met in some chat room,” said Ramona. “In fact, I had never chatted to anyone online until after visiting Bruce Springsteen’s official website in 2002.”
In November 2003, after exchanging conversations, Ramona, now a recruitment manager at Adecco in Kendal, flew to Manchester to meet Kirk.
She said: “There were tears of joy. I was never more sure of anything in my life. I had finally met the man of my dreams. When he drove me home there were fireworks in the air, and there were billboards everywhere that said, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
“I finally felt in all my years of suffering that I had come home. We held each other, and we danced to my favourite song, Tougher Than the Rest. I rang my parents to let them know I was safe, and I spent the happiest days of my life here in England.”
When Kirk then proposed to Ramona, he promised her a life of love, joy and rock ‘n’ roll if she moved to Chorley. Ramona said he kept his promise and the couple continue to follow Bruce all over Europe and the USA. Ramona said: “I spoke to my shrink in LA before leaving for the UK. I knew in my heart that I was in love, and meeting Kirk for all the right reasons, but I did do a sanity check before taking that fateful journey. I asked her if I was crazy for falling in love with a man that I had never met. Her answer couldn't have been more perfect. She said, ‘Actually, people have been writing each other since the beginning of time. Women would write men they hadn't met when they went to war.
“They would fall in love, and when the men came home, they would marry for life.
“What you have is very real, and you need to grab it with both hands, and never let go’.”
The couple married in June 2004 and now have three children between them: Ramona’s son Daniel, 30 who still lives in the USA, and Kirk’s children Lucy, 20, and Ewan, 17 from his previous marriage.
Reading a Springsteen article in TIME magazine changed Ramona’s life.
“I was compelled to read it, because it was a time that America had dropped to its knees and we were searching for answers.
“We turned to our families, our friends, our churches, our music, anything that could give us a sense of normality and allow us to rise up.
“This story was about The Rising. Bruce had written a collection of songs after the events of 9/11 from the perspective of working people.”
Ramona, 46, had been through difficult times before finding happiness via the rock legend.
“I found the ability to believe in love, and that there was a better life out there for me.
“I was fortunate enough to find friendship with many of his fans all over the world, who are dear friends that I still stay in touch with and get together with at concerts, weddings, birthdays or even just a cup of coffee.
“But, most importantly, his music gave me my wonderful husband, Kirk, the man of my dreams. My soulmate. My lover. my best friend.”
At the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, in June, 2012 Ramona, wearing a Union Jack onesie, was pulled up on stage by Bruce during Dancing in the Dark in front of a crowd of 60,000 fans.
She was able to thank the superstar for her fate.
“It was the dance of a lifetime.
“It was a monumental moment for me, as I was able to wrap my arms around Bruce.”