Northern Ireland

One Direction cancel Belfast concert as Liam Payne falls ill

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Media captionOne Direction fans were left devastated after band pulled the gig

One Direction have cancelled a Belfast concert at the last minute after band member Liam Payne became sick and could not go on stage.

They had been due to play the first of three gigs at the SSE Arena on Tuesday.

The cancellation announcement was made at about 21:00 BST, when most of the audience was already inside the venue.

Disappointed fans booed as staff instructed them to leave the venue and one witness said "hundreds" of girls and women had been left weeping.

Concert promoter Aiken PR said: "The show tonight has been cancelled as Liam has taken ill, and whilst not serious, he is unable to perform tonight."

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Media captionFans booed as the cancellation was announced at Belfast's SSE Arena | Video: Sarah Stevenson

Fans have been asked to hold on to their tickets and wait for further information, with a statement expected on Wednesday morning.

In a statement, the band, who are undergoing a final tour before taking their first break next year since forming on X Factor in 2010, apologised to their fans.

And on his Twitter account, Harry Styles wrote: "Deepest apologies to everyone at the show tonight in Belfast. Very disappointed, but unfortunately these things happen. We're very sorry."

Image copyright Twitter

Band mate Louis Tomlinson tweeted: "We're so so sorry for what happened tonight, it was out of our control! Lots of love to Liam and thank you for being so understanding!"

Audience members had already gathered inside the concert venue, and had listened to the band's support act, before the cancellation announcement was made.

Some expressed anger at the timing.

Michael Green, who took his six-year-old daughter to the show, told the BBC he was "disgusted" at how fans had been treated.

He described how he had to make his way out of the arena past "hundreds and hundreds" of weeping young girls and women.

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Media captionOne Direction cancelled their Belfast gig after Liam (second right) fell ill

Mr Green, who lives in Coleraine, County Londonderry, said he had spent £140 on two tickets and more on merchandise and food inside the venue.

Sarah Stevenson, from Dundonald, outside Belfast, attended the concert with her sister and they had also spent £140 on the "most expensive" tickets.

She posted a video of the cancellation announcement on her YouTube account, during which fans can been heard booing and heckling.

Image copyright Darran Marshall/BBC
Image caption Young fans had already gathered inside the SSE Arena when the cancellation announcement was made

Ms Stevenson said that at first she had thought the cancellation was "a joke" and was very disappointed and surprised that the show was called off "at such short notice".

She said many younger fans had queued at the venue from early morning.

The cancelled show was the first of three sold out One Direction concerts booked at the Belfast venue over consecutive nights.

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