THROUGHOUT her life she has been a self-styled rebel renown for late nights in leather jackets and wild knuckle rides on motorcycle pillions.
Age has never been a barrier for Barbara Witt who has been rocking well into her 60’s, dancing to her beloved Rolling Stones.
But after being diagnosed with cancer, within a year of seeing her musical icons on stage, the Hampshire grandmother was forced to tame her rebel ways.
However, the 64-year-old’s spirit for the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle has been rekindled after receiving a poignant personal tribute from one of her heroes.
The signed, handwritten letter complete with a heart and kisses came from none other than Stones guitarist and singer Ronnie Wood, offering kind words of support in her time of need.
His post-card includes the message “may the music keep us strong and keep rocking” and he has drawn a version of the band’s famous “Tongue and Lip Design” logo.
Speaking from her Marchwood home she said: “I was so surprised and excited to open it.
“I was just in shock because I hadn’t expected anything like that at all and I’ve never had anything like it before”.
The former school secretary was diagnosed with lung and brain cancer in May this year – just nine months after the band played at Hyde Park in London.
The message from Ronnie
The gig came 44 years after their concert in milestone 1969 – just two days after the death of founder member Brian Jones.
Barbara and a lifelong friend secured tickets to last year’s concert after narrowly missing out on tickets for their headline Glastonbury set a month earlier.
She has seen them several times since she first watched them aged 15 at The Gaumont –now the Mayflower Theatre – in Southampton in the 1960s.
Recalling her maiden gig, she said: “We queued up for a long time to get the tickets and got into the front row.
“I liked the Stones because I was a rebel at the time. Mick is my favourite and my favourite song is Jumpin Jack Flash.
Her son James, 34, who has moved back from London to be closer to her, approached Ronnie through contacts he has.
Her daughter Sophie O’Mara, 41, added that the band’s music has helped her mother cope with the disease.
She said: “It’s been so hard watching someone usually so fit and healthy become ill. But she was absolutely beaming after receiving the card and very proud.
“If she was to receive one from Mick Jagger as well it would make her day!”
Barbara's daughter and granddaughter Sophie (right) and Olivia O'Mara and son James Witt