WE’RE all behind you – that’s the message from Ashleigh Butler’s friends as she prepares to compete in the final of Britain’s Got Talent.
The 17-year-old from Wellingborough and her dog Pudsey are one of the favourites to win tonight’s show.
Her main competition for the £500,000 prize money and a place on the Royal Variety Performance is singing duo Jonathan and Charlotte.
Ashleigh has spent hours this week perfecting her final routine, but she had this message for all home fans: “I am really grateful for all of the support from everyone in Wellingborough and Northamptonshire.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without all of your support.”
Staff and pupils at Wrenn School, where Ashleigh is in the lower sixth form, are backing her to win.
Dance co-ordinator Hayley Miller, who has been teaching Ashleigh for four years, said: “She is a fantastic, hard-working student. We think their act is brilliant and we are supporting her as much as we can. We are really hoping that she will win.
“We’re looking forward to watching the show. Ashleigh says she’s going to use the judges, but she won’t say how.”
Headteacher William Thallon said: “We’ve had lots of posters up all around the school this week – we’ve even had the show on the TV in our reception.
“Ashleigh’s been at our school since she was 11.
“I remember when she was in the lower school she was our pupil of the month, which honours pupils who have made the biggest contribution to the school that month.
“She has always been a model pupil and she’s always had a positive attitude towards the school and other people.
“I also remember Pudsey being in our school production of Annie.”
Ashleigh’s best friend at school Ellen Barlow, 17, said: “I was new to the school this year and Ashleigh has really looked after me. She’s an amazing girl and a really supportive friend.
“I haven’t met Pudsey – she’s very protective of him, but they are amazing. It’s phenomenal what they do. She spends a lot of her time with Pudsey. Pretty much everything she does is with him.”
Emily Zdunczyk, 18, said: “Ashleigh and Pudsey are the best act on Britain’s Got Talent – ever. I am going to watch it tonight and I have got a feeling that they are going to win.”
Lilly Hill, 16, said: “I have known Ashleigh for about four years and I think she’s amazing. Hopefully she’s going to win. If she does, and she gets to perform at the Royal Variety Performance, I think the Queen will love her.”
Leyona Bishop, 16, said: “Ashleigh is a bubbly and fun girl. She’s really sweet. I hope that she’ll teach my dog to do what Pudsey does.”
Selina Gabriel, 17, said: “I met Ashleigh when we were doing a school talent show. She was dancing in the school production of Hairspray. I am so proud of her – everyone at the school is really proud of her. She deserves to win, she’s worked so hard. Everyone at school loves her.”
Aimee Carvell, 17, said: “Ashleigh and Pudsey are so cute. They deserve to win.
“We really hope that she will bring Pudsey to our school leavers’ assembly.”