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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Cumbria prepares to cheer on Collabro in Britain's Got Talent final

Singing sensation Matthew Pagan is preparing for the biggest night of his life as Cumbria cries: “Vote Collabro”.

Matthew Pagan photo
Matthew Pagan

Friends of the Britain’s Got Talent finalist say he’s excited ahead of tomorrow’s live showdown in front of millions of viewers.

They say his success in ITV’s prime-time talent contest is already proving an inspiration to budding stage stars in his home city.

Matthew’s theatre music boyband Collabro remain among the favourites to take the Britain’s Got Talent crown against fierce competition from teenage rappers, an illusionist and a dancing granny.

Students at StagedRight, the Carlisle theatre school where he honed many of his skills, will take to the streets tomorrow urging city centre shoppers to pick up the phone and vote for his group.

They are set to be among the most vocal cheerleaders for the group as excitement ahead of the live show grows.

StagedRight principal David McNeill said: “We’re delighted for Matthew. He is putting Carlisle, Cumbria and StagedRight on the map.”

Urging the county to get behind him, he added: “Just pick up the phone and vote.” David speaks to the 20-year-old from St Ann’s every week and has kept in touch as the final looms.

“He texted the other night and is buzzing. He’s doing interviews on all the major television programmes. It’s amazing,” said David.

Matthew showed his star qualities in a string of StagedRight shows, including Me & My Girl and West Side Story.

He was one of the stars of its special 10th anniversary celebration spectacular – just 24 hours before his first Britain’s Got Talent audition aired in March.

Such is his affinity with the stage school that when he left after several years, aged 18, he presented David, his wife Sallie and their team with a glass trophy thanking them for all they’d done.

The current crop of StagedRight students are firmly behind their most famous former pupil.

Claudia Greenaway, 15, of Dalston, said: “ It’s surreal seeing someone you know on the stage getting recognition for what he’s doing.

“He’s wowed everybody. He’s taken his love of musical theatre and shared it with everybody else.”

Morgan Kasiera, 12, also of Dalston, added: “I’m proud to be in StagedRight and that Matthew too was in StagedRight and he’s gone to do so well in Britain’s Got Talent.”

Whatever the outcome of the final, Matthew’s former mentor David is certain the performer is destined for the top.

“He will make it, whether he continues in a group, goes solo or as a West End performer,” he said.

“I could see him in the narrator’s role in Blood Brothers.”

Elsewhere, Wendy Boothman, who used to teach Matthew at the Richard Rose Central Academy, believes children are being inspired by him.

She said: “We have definitely seen an increase in the number wanting to do performing arts since Matthew’s been on TV.”

The University of Cumbria has also reported soaring interest in its performing arts degree course.

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