George Shelley's mum visits Weston College
By Carol_Deacon | Monday, November 19, 2012, 13:41
The mum and grandmother of Union J band member, George Shelley, visited Weston College as the battle goes on for the X-Factor crown.
Union J mum Toni Harris, front left, and grandmother Ann Harris at Weston College with supportive student fans
Toni and Ann Harris met George's friends and supporters at the college's University Campus – where the talented singer and guitarist completed a graphic design foundation course.
Union J made it through the seventh round of the competition after 16-year-old singer Ella Henderson was rejected on Sunday night and hope to make it to the X-Factor final on December 9.
Toni, 50, of Clevedon, said: "It's fantastic Union J have got through.
"I can't believe it's happening sometimes, especially when I look out of our house and there are girls calling and even crying for George.
"He's been working around-the-clock but came home for a surprise visit and when he walked in the room it was a shock to see my son for real and not on the TV!"
George, 19, comes from a very musical family. His grandfather, Dave, who is a retired police officer and Ann's husband, plays the guitar and accordion.
His uncle, Jon Harris, is a professional song writer, singer and musician, while uncles Tim and Tom are drummers.
Toni worked as a nurse and aerobics teacher but she can play the guitar and has written her own songs which she performed at pubs and festivals.
She said: "George sang as soon as he could talk and is able to harmonise perfectly.
"He's never had a guitar lesson in his life but he's got a natural ability and took part in Priddy Folk Festival at just 14."
George's eldest brother, Tom, 29, is a builder in Australia, the next, William, 23, is a Royal Marine who has served in Afghanistan and younger sister Harriet, 16, is at Clevedon Community School.
Grandmother, Ann, 68, of Upper Bristol Road, Weston, said: "It's an amazing experience, we are so proud of him and most of all George is a lovely lad."
George auditioned secretly for the X Factor and only let his family know just before the final audition. It's been a roller coaster ride with Union J narrowly missing rejection in the sixth round of the contest.
Toni also has to fight her own battles after suffering a stroke in March last year.At hospital she was initially diagnosed with a severe migraine and sent home and the resulting brain bleed left her with loss of feeling on her left side.
She has also had recent extensive surgery on both wrists for carpal tunnel syndrome and been unable to find work since.
She said: "It isn't very easy given my medical history but I am feeling much better and it's wonderful to be part of this experience with George.
"For the time being George is going to give all to his music career even though he was doing brilliantly and getting distinctions at Weston College."
To find out more go to www.weston.ac.uk or telephone 01934 411411.
- Weston College is one of the top performing colleges in the south west - 99.8 per cent of students passed their A-levels in 2012, while there was a 100 per cent pass rate for vocational qualifications;
- The college offers students 32 A-levels, more than 100 vocational courses, and more than 40 apprenticeships; and
- 21 per cent of Weston College students achieved a First Class Honours Degree in 2012 – well above the national average of 14 per cent.