Top-class Matt makes a return to former school

SINGING sensation Matt Cardle has made a surprise visit to the Suffolk school where he first discovered the musical talent which is now making him a star on The X Factor.

Delighted youngsters at Stoke College in Stoke by Clare, near Sudbury, were treated to a special performance from the 27-year-old, who has shot to fame on the hit ITV1 show.

It was an emotional return to the school which he attended from the age of five to 16 and where he developed his talent under the guidance of musical director Adrian Marple. The visit came just before Matt wowed the judges in the first live show on Saturday

“I first realised what a natural performer he was when he was in year nine, about 12 or 13 years old, and he sang Jail House Rock as part of a music-from-the-1950s production,” said Mr Marple.

“It was a duet and he was playing guitar. It was one of those moments where everyone in the hall was hushed and was really drawn into the performance.”

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Matt, who lives with his parents in Little Maplestead, near Halstead, had his first taste of performing in front a large audience in 1997 when the whole senior school put on a production of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

“He was standing up and singing in front of about 800 people and he wasn’t fazed at all,” said Mr Marple.

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“I remember he was very relaxed and totally focussed on what he was doing which is something that comes across when he is performing on The X Factor.”

His mother, Jenny Cardle, said Matt had always been a musical boy and was humming in his pram at four months old. They nurtured his talent by giving him piano and singing lessons as a child and bought him his first guitar on his 11th birthday.

“Stoke College had a huge influence on developing his passion for music and particularly his music teacher, Adrian Marple, who was quite inspirational,” said Mrs Cardle.

“Music took over his life and when he was 14 he said it was what he wanted to do. He became less involved in his academic studies and was more interested in playing in bands.”

Matt, who is mentored by judge Dannii Minogue, will perform again for the public’s vote and the chance to stay in the competition in the second live show starting at 7.30pm tonight. There are 10 acts left in the competition and one will have to leave on tomorrow night’s results show.

n To download wallpaper of Matt Cardle for your mobile phone, visit

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