A caring teenager who gives up his time to sing to the elderly has been recognised for his efforts with a nomination in this year’s Best of Hartlepool Awards.
Ben Bartlett, 13, from Hartlepool, has spent the last five years singing to residents at Dinsdale Lodge care home in the town in an effort to give back to his community.
Now the English Martyrs School pupil has been put forward for a Young Performer of the Year Award by staff at the home in acknowledgment of his dedication.
His proud mum Julie Bartlett said she was delighted her son has been nominated for the award, saying that music is her son’s life.
She said: “He has been singing for the elderly at Hartfields day care centre at Christmas and also goes up to Dinsdale Lodge care home a few times a year to perform.
“He interacts really well with the residents as and a couple of them have a soft spot for him.
“He even got one of the elderly patients up and she was singing along with him.
“Music is his life, he is obsessed with it.”
The passionate youngster enjoys singing a range of music styles including pop, classical and soul.
The youngster, who has autism, even went on to sing for Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall with the National Youth Choir last year.
And now he is taking on numerous auditions in London for parts in shows.
His mum added: “He has singing lessons with teacher Jane Parker at Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts and also has performance lessons with Julie Newsome at Debbie Barrass Academy of Performing Arts.
“He really enjoys all of the charity work and people often ask him if he will sing for them.
“I am extremely proud of him - seven years ago he couldn’t be in a room with half a dozen people, but now he can get up on stage and sing in front of them.
“He says that when he gets up on the stage he can be anyone he wants to be.”
This year’s awards have been sponsored by Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees NHS Clinical Commissioning Group; Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Hart Biologicals, along with Stagecoach North East and Specsavers.
Cleveland College of Art and Design, Hartlepool United FC and Utility Alliance have also come on board as sponsors.
Now we are gearing up to hold the fantastic Young Performer of the Year evening next Monday, October 30, at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.
Those nominated in that category will get to compete in their own big event in front of a live audience.
The top three from the evening of great entertainment will go on to compete at the grand finale of the overall awards.
After the young performers’ night, the judges will meet to draw up a shortlist for all the categories in early November and then comes the grand final, which will be held at Hardwick Hall on Tuesday, November 21.