TV talent show star Michael Rice returns to former Hartlepool school

TV talent show winner Michael Rice entertained hundreds of excited children when he returned his old primary school.

Michael, who won £50,000 by coming first in the BBC’s All Together Now singing contest, took time out of his busy schedule to pay a visit to St Aidan’s Church of England Primary School yesterday.

St Aidan's Primary School pupils with former pupil Michael Rice. Picture by Frank Reid

St Aidan's Primary School pupils with former pupil Michael Rice. Picture by Frank Reid

It was the first time he had been back since he was 10.

Michael, now 20, gave a special performance to the whole school of over 350 delighted youngsters.

He got them all up singing and dancing along as sang Tina Turner’s version of Rolling On The River, which he sang on television, and Hallelujah.

Michael, who is now based in London, told the Mail: “It felt so good to be back and see the kids and hopefully inspire them.

Michael Rice performing to current pupils in the main hall of his former school St Aidan's Primary. Picture by Frank Reid

Michael Rice performing to current pupils in the main hall of his former school St Aidan's Primary. Picture by Frank Reid

“I loved school. It was nice seeing the teachers who were here the last time. It’s crazy.”

Michael was a member of St Aidan’s school choir and played the lead role in the school’s production of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat when he was in Year 6.

Teacher Lisa Robertson, who taught Michael when he was seven, said: “He was just a nice, caring little boy.

“When I saw him on the talent show I was really proud of him.

Michael Rice in the main hall of his former school St Aidan's Primary. Picture by Frank Reid

Michael Rice in the main hall of his former school St Aidan's Primary. Picture by Frank Reid

“He has done really well.”

Michael posed for pictures with the pupils and even signed some autographs.

His younger brother Ethan Langley, aged nine, is a current pupil at St Aidan’s.

Deputy headteacher Gillian Hood said Michael is the first famous former pupil the school has had.

St Aidan's Primary School pupils Brenden Garrens, Benjamin Stevenson, Emma Gardner and Sophia Kilkerri with former pupil Michael Rice. Picture by Frank Reid

St Aidan's Primary School pupils Brenden Garrens, Benjamin Stevenson, Emma Gardner and Sophia Kilkerri with former pupil Michael Rice. Picture by Frank Reid

She told the children how he had also taken part in The X-Factor where he reached the boot camp stage, but did not let the disappointment stop him trying to succeed.

Ms Hood added: “The children really loved it. We were really surprised but pleased when Michael accepted our invite to come back to school.

“He fitted us in straightaway despite going on tour soon. We are really proud of him.

“It’s nice to have someone who has achieved so much in his life come back.”

Pupil Mollie May, 10, said: “I thought it was really good to see him and he has really encouraged me to be confident in my singing.

“My favourite part was when he got all the crowd to join in and sing with him.”

Michael Rice signs an autograph for St Aidan's Primary School pupil Mollie-Mae Jukes. Picture by Frank Reid

Michael Rice signs an autograph for St Aidan's Primary School pupil Mollie-Mae Jukes. Picture by Frank Reid

Michael Rice outside of St Aidan's Primary School with his brother and current pupil Ethan Langley. Picture by Frank Reid

Michael Rice outside of St Aidan's Primary School with his brother and current pupil Ethan Langley. Picture by Frank Reid