A PROUD Inverness man has told of the sheer joy that his granddaughter has stormed to this weekend’s Voice Kids UK semi-finals.
Tom Storey was “over the moon” when 13-year-old Courtney Hadwin blew the judges away in the TV show with her rendition of Dancing in the Street by Martha Reeve and The Vandellas.
The 60-year-old security guard at Yankee Candles in Inverness’s Eastgate Shopping Centre, said: “I have already booked time off from work in the hope she gets right through to the final. I’m so proud of her.
“The semis are on Saturday and my work has been good enough to allow me time to go and see her perform on stage in London.
“Courtney’s whole family was down last weekend and when she came off stage and broke down it was her little sister Melissa, who is only nine, who ran up and gave her a big hug. She ran straight into her arms.
“Melissa had seen her starting to cry because she didn’t expect to get through and because of the relief at the end.
“I think the whole family was emotional.
“She is back at school because the schools in England don’t break up for the summer until the end of this week.
“For me, Courtney is already a winner by getting to the semi-finals from the 10,000 people who started.
“There are a few agents taking interest and Courtney has attracted some attention.
“Courtney is actually painfully shy, which I know people will find hard to believe after seeing her perform on stage like that.
“If you ever met her you would hardly believe she was the same girl singing and dancing on that stage. But as soon as she gets a microphone in her hand, well, it’s like two different people.
“Courtney has always been a good singer since she was very young and she actually sings in her sleep which used to really annoy Melissa.
“She has a brother Paul, aged 10, and they all live in a little village near Hartlepool with my daughter Ann-Marie and her husband Paul.”
Mr Storey, who moved from Hartlepool to Inverness three years ago, watched the shows at his home in Miller Road, Inverness, with partner Aileen Riddoch and added: “My fingers were firmly crossed all week for Courtney and now she’s through it’s fantastic.
“I don’t know where she got her singing talent from as there’s no way it was from me!
Courtney is part of Team Danny in the show, which is Danny Jones of McFly fame, and she impressed fellow judges will.i.am and Pixie Lott to claim a coveted slot in the semi-finals with 11 other young performers.
Top prize is £30,000 towards the winner’s singing career plus a bumper family trip to Disneyland, Paris.