BRITAIN’S Got Talent finalist Richard Hadfield took time out from rehearsals to pay a visit to the theatre group that launched his stage career.

Richard, 20, from Portslade, of musical theatre boyband Collabro, dropped in on a Brighton Theatre Group Youth (BTGY) rehearsal of the musical Grease last week.

The theatre group contacted Richard to ask if he would record a video message to play at one of their rehearsals.

But despite being in London and preparing for the Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) final, Richard offered to speak to the cast in person at their rehearsal space at Westdene Primary School.

Richard said: “I think it’s really important to go back to the roots that have made me the performer I am today.

“Some people think ‘Oh, he’s famous now’, but I’m a normal guy. So it was so nice to hear from them and for them to want me to come down.”

He watched the cast, aged 10 to 19, run through the second half of the production and spoke to them afterwards to offer words of encouragement.

Keith Shepherd, producer, said: “He had a hero’s welcome. The kids were beside themselves to see him – a bit starstruck, really.”

Richard played the lead roles in the two previous BTGY productions at the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, most recently in November when he played Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.

It was a song from the show, Bring Him Home, which Collabro performed last Monday to secure themselves a place in the final.

The BTYG production of Grease will be on at the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange from June 10 to 14.

The Britain’s Got Talent series final airs on ITV at 7pm on Saturday, June 7.

Richard said: “Saturday’s finals are only a few days away and I really want Brighton and the whole of Sussex getting behind us with the public vote. We want to win it but we only can with our local support.”