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Guitarist Martin chasing Britain's Got Talent dream

Martin Matcham, Britain's Got Talent contestant
Martin Matcham, Britain's Got Talent contestant

Martin Matcham is usually to be found keeping an eye on car parts at Folkestone business Kent Auto Panels but has found fame after a triumphant appearance on the hit ITV talent show Britain’s Got Talent.

Originally from the town but now living in Elvington, the 36-year-old went to Pent Valley School and first picked up a guitar at the age of 12.

Despite some cutting remarks from Simon Cowell, Martin’s performance of Queen’s I Want to Break Free, including a light-up guitar, found favour with the crowd of thousands at the Hammersmith Apollo and judges Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden.

He will appear on the show’s last semi-final on Friday.

He told the Kentish Express: "I was really nervous about actually walking out on the stage but once I started all the nerves disappeared. I got into it and felt fine as soon as the crowd started getting up on their feet.

"My mother in law [Pat Chambers-Hall] put me in for it and she was the lady who marched out on stage and gave Simon Cowell a piece of her mind. It wasn’t a set-up, I was astonished. Simon Cowell is entitled to his opinion and at the time I wasn’t really taking a great deal of interest as I had 4,000 people in the Hammersmith Apollo clapping.

"It was a really great experience to be there. I’m in the semi-final on Friday and I would like to think I could go further but there’s a lot of competition.

"I work at KAP and everyone here has been behind me."

Kent Auto Panels boss Graham Furneaux said: "We’re very proud of him and we are backing him all the way."

Martin usually plays with the three-piece band M3 in local pubs and clubs, and has enjoyed playing his light-up guitar for the past 18 months.

Howls of protest greeted judge Simon Cowell as he proclaimed that Martin Matcham could "single-handedly close down the show" were he to win Britain’s Got Talent.

Martin’s rendition of I Want to Break Free was deemed "terrible" by Mr Cowell who added: "When your guitar lit up like something out of a fairground with that horrendous solo and the singing was even worse."

However, fellow judges Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden caught the mood with Mr Morgan describing it as "absolutely sensational" and Ms Holden saying, "I buzzed you too early – it was pure genius!"

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