MICHAEL Jackson fan George Warren is busy organising a North Devon welcome party to celebrate the celebrity family s imminent arrival in the region.

MICHAEL Jackson fan George Warren is busy organising a North Devon welcome party to celebrate the celebrity family's imminent arrival in the region.The ballroom at the Durrant House Hotel, Northam, has been booked to host a special charity fund-raising party for fans as well as the Jackson family, who are expected to arrive in Appledore and begin several weeks' filming for a Channel Four television special on May 18.The event, entitled Michael Jackson & the Jacksons: A Celebration, will take place on Sunday, June 8. It is being co-ordinated by Barnstaple fan, 18-year-old George in conjunction with Internet fan site, Maximum Jackson, and the North Devon Hospice.George, who runs his own on-line Michael Jackson merchandise store, told the Gazette that the idea was to put on an exciting event to enable fans to get together and meet their idols.He said: "The venue is just a few minutes from the house the family is renting, and although we know there are no guarantees they will come, the Jacksons - including Michael - will all be invited. We hope they will be able to make it and meet some of their fans."If done correctly, this event could be the biggest thing since Michael's last major public appearance in the UK at the World Music Awards in London in November, 2006."The Jacksons are hardly ever in the UK so people won't want to pass up on an opportunity like this."In a statement to the North Devon Gazette, Tito Jackson, who visited the region on a home-hunting mission in March, said the family was honoured that the fans were putting on a party to celebrate the Jacksons' musical success."I can confirm that myself and some other Jackson family members will be in attendance at this event," he said."We are all very much looking forward to spending time in North Devon. I can't wait to come back to Barnstaple."George, a second year media student at North Devon College, admitted that the party was by far the biggest thing he had ever tried to organise. He said he had been in contact with North Devon-based Jackson family friend, Matt Fiddes for help.Mr Fiddes told the Gazette he thought it was great that the fans were working so hard to celebrate the Jacksons' arrival in North Devon. "I am happy to support the fans and we will do whatever we can to make the show a success," he said."Members of the Jacksons have confirmed by telephone over the weekend that they will attend this party to raise money for the North Devon Hospice."George went on to say that some of the biggest names in the Michael Jackson tribute circuit had already been booked to perform at the event."We're looking at a maximum attendance of 250, including the Jacksons, media and security."Depending on the interest shown by fans, it could get to the stage where the event is seen as quite exclusive."On-line ticket sales were set to go live at midnight yesterday (Tuesday) and demand is expected to be high, as news of the event spreads via Internet forums of fan websites worldwide."There are hundreds of Jackson websites, some with upwards of 40,000 registered members," said George, who met Tito and Jermaine Jackson on their recent visits to North Devon."Some of the larger forums are very busy, with new posts every 30 seconds. The event has already sparked interest from fans in Europeand as far-a-field as Australia, but we hope it will attract a lot of Jackson fans from the local area." The virtual tickets are available from website www.mjjparty.com and are priced £20 for a table seat at the front, £15 for a seated row, or £10 to stand at the back. "To minimize costs, everyone who buys a ticket will be issued a unique code that they give on the door," said George."We will be holding a raffle of Jacksons' records and memorabilia on the night and any profits from the event will go to the North Devon Hospice."Linda Freeman, functions manager at the Durrant House Hotel, confirmed that the hotel had offered the venue for free, although said that organisers may need to pay for additional staff and equipment."We are happy to be helping raise money for the North Devon Hospice and are very excited about the prospect of hosting a party," she said.Hotel manager Julie Finn said the news had created a "real buzz" in the hotel."We've just completed a massive £2million refurbishment and been awarded three-star status by Quality in Tourism."We have invested a lot of money back into the hotel and news of the Jackson party is the icing on the cake for us. "The hotel now has a number of brand new Jacuzzi suites, so you never know, some of the family may even decide to stay here!" North Devon Hospice community fund-raiser Alison Hunt added: "This is just a fantastic event for us. We have met Tito Jackson on a number of occasions now and he is a very charming man who is a big supporter of the hospice."n It is understood that Channel Four film-makers are to start filming in Appledore today (Wednesday) ahead of the Jackson family's expected arrival in two weeks' time.Mr Fiddes said he was flying out to the US with documentary makers on May 12."It's moving really fast now," he said. "We will be staying with the Jacksons in California and flying back to Devon with them."On Monday, local police confirmed that they had visited the location of the Appledore home being rented by the Jackson family."We have liaised with organisers at this end and if the visit goes ahead, our policing approach will be proportionate for both local residents and for the visitors," Sgt Simon Bassett told the Gazette.