Eurovision 2019: Hundreds pack Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre to support local hero Michael Rice
Hundreds of Michael Rice fans have packed Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre on Saturday night in support of local hero Michael Rice's Eurovision bid.
The spectators watching the action on big screens at the free event included around 10 members of the 21-year-old singer's family.
Aunt Pam Rice said: "Everyone is feeling confident. He has just got to go out and do his best.
"We hope people just forget about Brexit and vote for the best song."
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Karen Pattinson, sporting a Michael Rice mask, added: "I am from Hartlepool and I am very excited.
"How often is it we get someone from Hartlepool in an event like this?"
The Mayor of Hartlepool, Coun Allan Barclay, added: "I met Michael in the Mayor's Parlour about a month ago and suggested we do something for tonight.
"It is very important for the town. "Michael is an excellent young man."
Stephanie Aird taught Michael for Music GCSE at Dyke House School.
She said: "I have still got his course work on a memory stick. I used to put him on at morning assembly and we didn't need to mike him up," she said.
"His voice would just boom off all the walls.
"He always worked hard at his music and he also helped other students with their course work."
Stephanie also taught Britain's Got Talent star Danny Posthill and he and Michael have both performed at the cafe bar she now runs in town, along with America's Got Talent sensation Courtney Hadwin.