A magician, whose talents were first recognised by the Bury Free Press in 2000, is now taking the nation by storm after winning a place in the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent.
Matt Edwards so impressed the audience and judges during last weekend’s hotly-contested talent show heat that hosts Ant and Dec stepped in with their golden buzzer, sending him straight through to the live semi-final.
Full of wacky facial expressions, dance moves, jokes and impressions, Matt, who grew up in Needham Market, broke down in tears of delight as the golden buzzer rang.
“Honestly, we were laughing so much I thought I was going to pee myself,” explained Ant.
“He’s 34 years old and, for some reason, he hasn’t been given the break up until now and we just wanted to be there and do it,” said Dec.
Amanda Holden compared the entertainer to famed comedian-magician Tommy Cooper, adding that she thought he was ‘old school with a twist which is absolutely perfect for Britain’s Got Talent’.
Alesha Dixon praised Matt’s ‘passion and enthusiasm’ while Michael McIntyre found him ‘very funny, very entertaining’ and Simon Cowell recognised he had a ‘star quality’.
Matt’s victory on Saturday reminded him of another life-changing moment, when he was just 17.
“I’d been for an audition in London for a job as a holiday entertainer in Spain and was waiting to hear if I had been chosen,” he said.
“It was a big moment for me and the Bury Free Press covered the story, which was the first ever interview I gave to the press.
“Seventeen years later, after Ant and Dec pressed their golden buzzer, it has just been a whirlwind.
“The messages of support I have received have been both overwhelming and very touching.”
Matt went to the now closed Needham Market Middle School, and Stowmarket High School, before moving to Spain.
His dad, Alan, 65, mum Sue, 62 and gran Pam, 84, still live in Stowmarket and are thrilled by his success.
Alan, who is ‘pleased as Punch’, said: “I remember sitting in the car waiting for him while he was performing locally as a youngster and encouraged him all the way.
“He has always loved to make people smile.”
Magic Matt, as he is known to friends, bought his first magic trick after watching a live show by the Phantom Flan Flinger from 80s Saturday morning show, Tiswas, in Covent Garden.
The Bury Free Press pictured him, aged 17, with his then stage companions, Salt, the dove, and Riley the rabbit, who have sadly since passed away.
“I have worked professionally as a magician all over the world since then but the chance Britain’s Got Talent offers me is amazing,” said Matt, who now lives in Hereford, with his wife Kate, 33.
“I am still a country boy at heart and take a lot of inspiration from Suffolk and always come back to relax and rejuvenate.
“I was one of the youngest members of the Ipswich Magic Society and can still remember putting on shows at Needham Village Hall.
“If I win the whole competition, I can’t wait to come back to Stowmarket and celebrate with all my family and friends.
“I am not sure when the semi-final is yet, but I would just like to thank everyone for their support.”