Nottingham

Hairdryer gran Jean Brooks is 'national hero' say fans

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Media captionBikers get the hairdryer treatment

A hairdryer-wielding grandmother who became an internet sensation says schoolchildren in her area now consider her a "national hero".

Jean Brooks uses the hairdryer as a pretend speed gun outside her home in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.

A video of her has been viewed more than 33 million times on the BBC Radio Nottingham Facebook page.

Since her new-found fame, she said she is asked for selfies and fans visit her home.

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Media captionA hitchhiker from Germany visited Jean Brooks after seeing the video

"People come up to me and hug me and say 'thank you for making the street safer'," said the 63-year-old.

"As far as the local school kids are concerned, I'm a national hero.

"If the traffic slows down nobody's going to get hurt. I've already got a cat that's only got three legs because he didn't know his green cross code."

The video has since spawned memes quoting parts of the interview, in which Ms Brooks said: "If we can't be safe in our own streets, how the hell are we going to be safe in the world?"

People have also quoted the "neooooow, neooooow, neoooow" noise she made when imitating the sound of vehicles speeding past her home.

'Speechless'

A hitchhiker from Germany turned up at her home with a gift on Wednesday after seeing the hairdryer video.

"I nearly burst into tears when I saw him," she said.

"I hugged him so hard I thought I was going to crack his ribs, bless him."

Updates on this story and more from the East Midlands

Bartek Zabel, from Hamburg, said: "It's brilliant because you don't need expensive equipment to slow the drivers down."

He has sent the video to his friends and said they loved it too.

"I just had to visit her because she's like a local hero and like a celebrity," he added.

Image caption "I've already got a cat that's only got three legs because he didn't know his green cross code," said Jean

A man who viewed the hairdryer video also delivered a van of nearly 200 toys to her home on Saturday night, which she gave to children on her estate.

"It's not often I'm made speechless but I was speechless," said Ms Brooks.

Ms Brooks, who is a biker herself, contacted the BBC after it published a video of irresponsible quad bikers and motorcyclists who rode dangerously in Nottingham city centre.

She claimed the gang of bikers - who were caught on CCTV doing wheelies, driving the wrong way and weaving in and out of traffic - regularly went down her road.

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Media captionJean Brooks took her hairdryer to the polling station

She said she wanted the hairdryer to become symbolic of communities taking back their streets.

She encouraged people to vote - particularly young people - and said they should take a hairdryer with them when they do.

"Don't say anything, don't do anything, just carry a hairdryer," she said.

Image caption Jean Brooks runs a charity cafe in her garden

Ms Brooks does other work for her community, including running a charity cafe in her garden to encourage people to talk to each other.

In 2015, she collected Easter eggs then delivered them to children's homes and hospitals with the help of a group of bikers.

Image caption Jean Brooks helps a four-year-old boy called Ethan to grow peas in her garden, because he previously "thought peas came out of a tin"

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