SHY singer Matthew Hewitt is all smiles after facing his fears to go on a talent show - and scooping £25,000 for winning, writes Ellen Beardmore.
The 28-year-old, of Darnall, won the cash after wowing with his performance of Etta James’ At Last on new TV series Don’t Stop Me Now - where the audience vote for the winner.
And he hopes his success could be inspirational to others who have experienced bullying, as he did at school.
VIDEO: Press the play button to see one of Matthew’s YouTube video that got him picked to appear on the show. For more of his videos, visit Matthew Hewitt’s YouTube Channel - CLICK HERE.
Matthew has already treated mum Janet to a holiday in New York and a new mobile phone with the windfall.
He said: “It was such a shock, I never thought I would win.
“I have always wanted to be a singer and have wanted to do it from a young age.
“I haven’t got a clue what I’m going to do with the money!
“So far I’ve treated my mum to a holiday in New York and a new mobile phone.
“She’s been very supportive and always there for me.”
Far from the fame-hungry folk who often apply to television shows, Matthew was hunted down by talent scouts to take part after they videos of him singing on his YouTube channel.
But at first he found the notion hard to swallow.
The former Myrtle Springs School pupil said: “I thought it was somebody messing around. The messages asked if I was interested in joining a new show.
“In the past I have suffered from horrendous bullying but the thing is I didn’t want to tell people, I didn’t want to give a sob story.
“I eventually decided to contact them but I was that shy I just couldn’t get myself to go down to London to audition.
“I felt ill at the thought of it, I didn’t know what to do.”
But Matthew, who works at Wilkinson’s in Darnall, finally mustered the courage to audition.
He said: “I was so shy and I didn’t think I could do it.
“When I got on stage I absolutely loved it.”
Before the show, which was filmed six months ago but aired on Sky 1 this week and features celebrities, Matthew hadn’t sang on stage since school.
He has had to keep the news of winning quiet but now hopes to forge a career in music.
Matthew said: “At the school Christmas show people were cheering and it made me feel good inside, I thought ‘I’m going to get friends’ and be noticed but I never did.
“I did the show for myself but also my family and I wanted to prove to people I can do this, this is what I can do.”