SELFIE RESPECT: Preston celebrity spotter becomes social media star

Umar Ayub with Tisha Merry, who plays Steph Britton in Coronation Street

Umar Ayub with Tisha Merry, who plays Steph Britton in Coronation Street

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Celebrity spotter Umar Ayub is fast becoming a star in his own right.

The 36-year-old Virgin Rail customer services assistant has built up a following on social media after having his photo taken with a range of star names on the platform.

Umar Ayub with Danny Wallace

Umar Ayub with Danny Wallace

Now passengers are flocking to take selfies with him before they set off on their journeys.

Umar, who has been working for Virgin for 18 months, said: “Two or three months into the job I spotted the cricketer Brian Lara, so I went up to him and asked if he’d pose for a photo with me.

“He did, and then I kept spotting other famous people in the crowds. I always ask permission, but everyone has been friendly and more than happy to do it.

“I’ve met all kinds of people, including loads out of Emmerdale, EastEnders and Coronation Street, as well as footballers, but Brian Lara has been the most famous.

I’ve met all kinds of people, including loads out of Emmerdale, EastEnders and Coronation Street, as well as footballers, but Brian Lara has been the most famous.

“Eamonn Holmes was very, very friendly and David Moyes was always lovely. He used to come through a lot before he started working abroad.”

He added: “I put the pictures on Facebook because I think it’s nice for the people of Preston to see.

“You wouldn’t realise how many famous people do pass through the station.”

News of Umar’s celebrity spotting has spread on social media and now passengers are clammering to have their picture taken with him.

Julie Lowes, who was at the station on Saturday, posted a photo of herself with Umar to the Facebook site You Know You’re From Preston When.

She wrote: “You are all giddy waiting for the footy train to MK Dons and you get your pic taken with Umar!!”

Umar wrote: “In the last few weeks people have started to recognise me and come up to me.

“I don’t mind at all, it’s about starting their journey with a smile.

Umar Ayub with Robbie Savage

Umar Ayub with Robbie Savage

“It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I get to smile at people and meet ­different people every day.”

Umar Ayub with Roy Hodgson

Umar Ayub with Roy Hodgson