Stacey Solomon homecoming visit is a hit at Havering College of Further and Higher Education

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Television celebrity Stacey Solomon has been given a rapturous homecoming by students and staff at Havering College of Further and Higher Education.

Stacey, who was studying for a National Diploma in Performing Arts course (http://www.havering-college.ac.uk), when The X Factor shot her to fame in 2009, returned to her old college in Hornchurch, Essex, to film a television documentary.

The 22-year-old once starred in college shows such as Oh! What a Lovely War at the London Palladium. She is now a successful television presenter and is scheduled to release her debut album this year.

Memories of her happy college days came flooding back when Stacey was reunited with her former performing arts and dance tutors, Sandra Broxton and Elaine O’Connor, and stepped back into the studio to join a musical theatre class.

Stacey is fronting a documentary for BBC on teenage post natal depression. She returned to the Ardleigh Green Campus with a film crew to talk about the support and encouragement staff gave her when she discovered she was pregnant at 17.

Stacey, who is mum to four-year-old Zachary and new baby Leighton, four months, described how she had always wanted to be a performer and was “so excited” when she started a Performing Arts course at Havering College.

She spoke of her initial sadness about having a baby and fearing she wouldn’t be able to have a career.

She said: “But when I told them at college, they were really good about it.”

Although the singing and dancing elements of her course were ruled out for health and safety reasons during her pregnancy, Stacey continued with the written parts of her course.

In the September after Zachary was born, Stacey came back to college, reassured that her son was being happily cared for in the on-site Stepping Stones Day Nursery while she was in class.

Stacey recalled: “I felt like I was achieving something and getting somewhere. I was determined to get a good education.”

The X Factor auditions led to a place in the final three...and the rest is history. Stacey was crowned Queen of the Jungle in I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here, has presented The Love Machine with Chris Moyles and is currently a judge on Top Dog Model.

Her former musical theatre lecturer Simon Gray said: “Stacey was a hard working member of an exceptional class which also included Dayo Olatunji who has worked with Chipmunk and Wiley. We are very proud of them both.”

Stacey had words of encouragement for the new cohort of students in her musical theatre class.

“If you want to do something you can do it. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your
background is. You’ve got to work hard but you can do it,” she told them.

Performing Arts student Eden Bishop-Jones, 16, from Harold Hill, said: “Having Stacey Solomon come into our class and listen to us sing was great. I loved every minute of it.”

Classmate Joanna Hunt, 16, from Doddinghurst, said: “It was a complete surprise. We didn’t know Stacey was coming into college until the day it happened. It was very exciting.”

Havering College of Further and Higher Education holds Artsmark Gold status from Arts Council England in recognition its commitment to, and excellence in, arts education. For further information on Performance Arts and other Creative Arts courses call 01708 462801, email information(at)havering-college.ac.uk or visit http://www.havering-college.ac.uk

ENDS

Notes to editors: Havering College of Further and Higher Education is also known as Havering College. It is NOT the same organisation as Havering Sixth Form College.

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