Weston people support George on X Factor
By Prue_Reid | Thursday, October 25, 2012, 15:57
Why Weston should support George Shelley...he went to Weston College and his younger sister Harriet is still a student there...his granddad and grandmother live in Weston...
Union J is the one for Weston People
Family, friends and supporters put this banner out and about in North Somerset
But mumToni Harris has problems as young girls keep stealing the posters
His mum knew he was a star long before Clevedon's George Shelley won a place on X Factor.
Toni Harris, aged 50, recognised her small son's talents from the moment a pre-school George shook a plastic washing-up bottle filled with rice in time with the music.
On the maternal side of the family his granddad – Dave 'Busker' Harris - sang with a rock 'n' roll band, uncles Tim and Jonathan are musicians and it wasn't unknown for his singer/songwriter mum to get up and perform at the Priddy Folk Festival.
Granddad Dave, a retired Bristol policeman who lives with wife Ann at Weston-super-Mare, is still performing gigs despite his 75 years notably at Burnham Acoustics Club.
And it was Dave who bought a teenaged George his first guitar.
Mum Toni, a former nurse, said: "We have a musical family and his granddad Dave was a real rock and roller.
"George, even as a young boy, always wanted to join in and used to pretend he was playing on the drums, using a saucepan and a wooden spoon.
"We also used to make instruments by filling up washing up bottles with rice.
"He has always loved singing, dancing and playing instruments and enjoyed drama and being in plays.
"He has always been the sort of person who could pick up an instrument and play it – a talent he got from his granddad."
Although George hasn't had any formal music lessons as well as the makeshift nursery shaker he can pick out a tune on anything from bongos to a banjo, said Toni.
In the early stages of the competition none of the family knew about his bid for fame with the X Factor.
Fellow college student Emily Tollner, of Clevedon, was the driving force behind George's bid for fame by encouraging him to audition for X Factor.
There was some initial disappointment when George didn't get through as a solo artist before mentor Louis Walsh invited him to join fellow performers Jamie Hamblett, 24, Josh Cuthbert 20, and Jaymi Hensley 22, and boy band Union J was formed.
George was born at Southmead hospital on July 27, 1993 and his first home was in Clevedon where his mum grew up.
But his somewhat nomadic early years led him to go to nursery school at Happy Hours, Nailsea; Backwell Infant School; Golden Valley Primary School at Nailsea and then to Yeo Moor Junior School at Clevedon.
He began secondary school in Burnham before transferring to Kings of Wessex at Cheddar and after taking a successful BTEC in graphic design at Weston College was about to start a second year at Bath Spa University.
Mum said: "His grandmother Ann didn't want him to drop out of his degree course as he had already completed his first year and been awarded a distinction and his long term plan was to be a graphic designer working and living in New York."
Life has been a bit of a struggle for Toni who has been a single parent for the past 16 years but she is equally proud of all her children's achievements.
Big brother Tom, 29, who lives in Australia and works as a builder also plays drums with a band which released a single this week.
William, 23, is with the Royal Marines and has already served in Afghanistan and sister Harriet, 16, is studying for her A-levels at Weston College.
The proud mum has been going out late at night to put a large 'vote for George' banner up on the roadside in Clevedon asking the town to support her son.
But she doesn't have to not worry because George already has a huge local following so much so that wall posters are disappearing as soon as she can put them up.
Morrison's supermarket reported capturing on CCTV a group of adorning girl fans removing a poster from its premises.
Young people at The Barn made another large poster for mum to take to the show but unfortunately it was deemed too large to be filmed among the studio audience.
Despite coping with the after affects of a stroke caused by stress and working an 80 hour week in palliative care Toni has been travelling to London with extended family to the Sunday results show.
She said: "George prefers us to be at the results show in case they get voted off so we can be there to support him."
Currently Union J at 9-1 in the betting stakes and fourth favourites.
At the first three live performances the band has received amazing reviews.
After round three when Union J performed David Guetta's hit When Love Takes Over judge Gary Barlow said: "We are witnessing the birth of a brand new boy band."
And in round two the foursome put on a banging performance of When Love Takes Over.
Judges praised their performance with Louis telling them: "They have it all - great energy, looks and the vocals."
The band posted on its website 'Wow the support we are getting is amazing! We're still a new band finding our feet but we're nearly there, thanks for believing'.
Union J is already being dubbed as the new One Direction – the boy band which has found international fame after appearing on last year's X Factor.
A meet and greet with the boys at Brent Cross Shopping Centre had to be cancelled last year after too many fans turned up, making it too dangerous for them to be at the fan event.
Toni says George currently hasn't got a 'steady' girlfriend although he has lots of 'lovely mates who are girls' but rumours of a budding romance with fellow contestant and favourite to win Ella Henderson have surfaced in the gossip columns.
It has been reported that the pair have been getting close at the finalists' five star hotel especially after George tweeted a picture of the himself along with Ella saying 'Just getting ready for our first date! Haha George X'.
Toni added: "George says it is hard work and he is getting tired but he is loving it."
X Factor stylists tried to get George to have a new haircut but he refused although all the band has enjoyed 'star treatment' with teeth whitening and facials.
Tune in this weekend for the Halloween-themed show and vote for Union J.
To view George's family album click HERE.