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Teacher stranded in Russia meets comedienne 'who got him through the dark times'

A Stafford teacher who was stranded in Moscow during the Ukrainian conflict has finally met the Black Country comedienne whose videos "saved his life".

Our Trace with Darren Harvey
Our Trace with Darren Harvey

Darren Harvery was stuck in Russia without wages or a route home and began watching YouTube videos of Tracey Rhodes, aka Our Trace.

After travelling more than 3,000 miles home via Istanbul, Darren tracked down the comedienne at Cannock Ex-Serviceman's Club and ended up being brought up on stage.

He said: "Our Trace got me through some real dark times when I was in Russia and had no idea when or if I would get back home. When the Ukrainian invasion started we honestly did not think we would be allowed out of Russia.

"But when I did get back home I knew I had to see her, and it was a dream come true, she got me up on stage and everything."

He added: "She really is hilarious, she makes me laugh so much and when you are in a tough situation like I was in Russia, laughter really helps."

"I've now seen her three times, it will always be From Russia With Love for me and Our Trace, she was my saviour."

Wolverhampton based Our Trace gave Darren the microphone in Cannock but had no idea of the story he would tell.

"It was really extraordinary hearing Darren saying what I meant to him. I do a lot of audience participation stuff so I give the microphone to audience members, but when he began telling everyone about being stuck in Russia, well it was really emotional."

Our Trace has been cracking jokes on stage for 25 years and performs across the country as well as in Benidorm.

She said: "We've met since, and he's taken us for dinner to say thank you. It is amazing what the internet can do. I had a live Facebook clip have eight million views in 2018 and that really propelled my comedy career into theatres."

Our Trace is performing Katy's Secret Garden Stourbridge on Thursday at 7.30pm.

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