My First Eurovision – The Aylward Family!

Aylward title

You never forget your first time (Or so they say) No, I’m talking about Eurovision! I think all of us who know and love the Eurovision Song Contest have a special place in our hearts for the first one we ever encountered. In this little series we’re making you, the Eurovision fans, the stars of the show and asking you to tell us about your first contest, what you loved about it, what made you come back and some of your special memories of Eurovision – last week I talked to Heinz & Holger from Frankfurt, Germany and asked them to remember their first Eurovision experiences, this week I’ve got a whole family of Eurovision fans for you – meet the Aylward family from Brighton, UK…

EUROVISION IRELAND: Which year was your first ever year watching ESC on TV
PAULA: I always watched it from a young age. First real memory was 1976 Brotherhood of Man – Save your kisses for me.
GARY: It was always on when I was growing up – after all there were only 3 TV channels to choose from, and Terry Wogan’s commentary was not to be missed! I remember Johnny Logan winning in 1980, probably the first time I watched the results.
BETHANY: The earliest acts I can remember are from 2007 (Scooch!) and 2008, but the earliest year I remember as a whole competition is 2009. I remember begging my parents to let me stay up until the end of the voting.

EI: What is your strongest memory from that year?
P: The song being played everywhere and everyone being excited that we’d won.
G: The song was a big hit in the UK; few Eurovision songs get much airplay here, even the winners.
B: Firstly, Ireland not getting to the final – I was an outraged 12 year old! But in the final, Dima Bilan performing ‘Believe’ in the opening of the show, remembering that performance a year later is the reason I’ve got into Eurovision.

EI: Were you alone or watching with friends/family?
P: Always watched with family
G: It was always a family affair
B: Family

EI: What did you like most about ESC from that time?
P: It was a good family show
G: Terry Wogan!
B: It feels like it was only yesterday! I still like now what I liked about it back then – the variety of music and amazing stage productions. Around that time the stage designs got a lot bigger and more impressive, consequently adding so many more possibilities to the contest.

EI: When did you get hooked and become a real fan of ESC?
P&G: We’d always liked it but as a once a year TV show…. that really changed when we let Bethany stay up to watch the show and as she got older she kept us informed about artists, events and who should win!
B: In 2010 I continued to listen to Eurovision songs post-contest, 2011 was the first year I listened to the songs before the contest, 2012 was the first year I watched National Finals and it’s just continued to grow from there…

EI: When was the first time you saw the contest live?
ALL: 2014 in Copenhagen we went to the Family Final. We’d promised Bethany that we would go if it didn’t clash with exams and was an easy country to get to. Luckily she was on study leave from her exams so we were able to go. Bethany and Paula also went to the 60th concert in London and were in the front of the queue to get in – the first concert Paula had ever queued for!

EI: How many times have you been to ESC?
ALL: This year will be our third time, as we went to Denmark, Austria and now Sweden. We also take Graham our UK Eurovision bear. He’s had his picture taken all over Copenhagen and Vienna and has met many Eurovision fans – he was even given a Koala friend by some Australians last year! He’s watched every final but as he’s not 18 yet he can’t go to the London Eurovision Party. Here’s Graham the Bear in Copenhagen, heading to the bar apparently!

EI: What has been your favourite Eurovision moment?
P: Too many to count, the amazing atmosphere and friendly Eurovision fans and artists, I love the feeling of being in a Eurovision Bubble where everyone is happy and friendly.
G: Standing in the square in Vienna with Bethany trying to do the maths in our heads to work out that Mans had won before it was announced! And all the happy, friendly people.
B: Just being there every year!
EI: We asked The Aylward’s to share some of their Eurovision pictures, they’ve obviously had some great times at Eurovision…
Aylward Collage

EI: Finally, tell us something else interesting about your ESC history…
P: I’m really disappointed that I was too young to remember Abba winning in my home town of Brighton, but Bethany and I have both performed on the Brighton Dome stage that Abba performed on.
G: Bethany is entirely responsible for me following Eurovision for the past few years. People are amazed when I tell them why I’m going on a European city break in May.
B: For every Eurovision event I paint my fingernails with Flags. I use them to show off my top 10 each year and in my opinion Australia’s flag is the worst thing about them joining the contest (A union jack is hard enough on one nail let alone in the corner of one)! In Copenhagen within hours of us being there I’d already had a photo of my nails taken by a Norwegian guy and later in the evening by a slightly drunk German woman…
EI: Bethany, we LOVE them!IMG_7857

How would you like to feature in our series of Eurovision memories? Drop us a line in the comments section and maybe we’ll be in touch with you!
*For more info make sure to check us out on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, SNAPCHAT, PERISCOPE and YOUTUBE for even more news and gossip!

Author: Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source: Eurovision Ireland Instagram

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