SHEFFIELD song king Eliot Kennedy went back to school to perform a charity concert with his pop pals - including a X Factor stars and a personal video message from Gary Barlow.
The event raised over £3,000 towards a memorial garden in honour of much loved teacher Mark Lovett, who died unexpectedly from a heart attack just over a year ago, days before his 55th birthday.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch video highlights from the concert and exclusive backstage interviews.
Grammy award winner Eliot, who fondly remembers the PE teacher and pastoral leader, jumped at the chance to help when he was asked by head Paul Blackwell to come back to Dinnington Comprehensive School, between Sheffield and Rotherham.
“I only expected him to turn up with his guitar and a couple of people. We didn’t expect all this,” said Paul.
“It was about raising money for a memorial garden for Mark, but it was also a celebration of the career of one of our former boys - a great inspiration to others pupils.”
Eliot, who last played on the same stage 29 years ago, gave a top class performance of many of his hits, including Take That’s Everything Changes, Picture Of You which he wrote for Boyzone, Say You’ll Be There for the Spice Girls, and When You’re Gone for Bryan Adams and Melanie C.
He brought along former X Factor stars Craig Colton and Janet Devlin, Britain’s Got Talent boyband The Mend, young trio Tilly, teen sensation Max, and support duo Feelix - some of the many talented acts he is currently writing for, producing or otherwise working with in Sheffield at his Foundry at The Steelworks Studio.
But the biggest cheer of the night, from the crowd of over 400 fans at the sold-out event, was when Eliot’s best pal Gary Barlow gave a personal video message on a screen above the stage.
He introduced Eliot, accompanied by Liz Simpson of the Military Wives Choir, plus members of Yorkshire’s Rock Up And Sing, to perform the show’s finale - their Diamond Jubilee song, Sing.
“Hey everybody, I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there tonight but I’m stuck in New York - what an awful place to be,” Gary joked with the crowd.
“About a year ago me and Eliot went on a trip around the Commonwealth, recording some special, special people, for a special, special lady, the Queen. And that’s what you are about to hear.”
Eliot, whose One Song Foundation has raised thousands of pounds for organisations including cancer and homeless charities, said: “I was thrilled to be asked to do this. Mark was one of the great teachers when I was at school.
“But I couldn’t just come back with my guitar. I had to bring friends in and we ended up having a party. What I love about my life is that I’m constantly surrounded by amazing, talented people.”