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Issued: May 23, 2016
Proud father of former West Hatch student recalls son’s school days as he prepares for magical performance on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent
The father of Britain's Got Talent semi-finalist Richard Jones has recalled his son's time at West Hatch High School as he hopes to conjure up a place in Saturday's final.

Richard, who will be performing in the live semi-final tomorrow (Tuesday), was an accomplished musician while at West Hatch. He left the school six years ago.

He plays the piano and trombone and learned the latter at Redbridge Music School going from brass club to symphony orchestra with the music school playing at many venues including the Royal Albert Hall.

During his time at West Hatch - he lived in Woodford Bridge during his school days - Richard volunteered at the Chigwell Riding Trust and completed his bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Richard, who still keeps in touch with West Hatch music teacher Mauro Sheehan, left West Hatch at the age of 18 and joined the Army, a year later being posted to the Band of the Parachute Regiment.

In 2014 he was promoted to Lance Corporal and posted to the Band of the Household Cavalry where he learned to ride a horse.

Richard rode in the Trooping of the Colour last year and was at the recent Royal Windsor Horse Show working 16 hours a day.

His father, Stephen, said: “This is a very busy period for the band, with the Queen’s birthday, so rehearsing for Britain’s Got Talent has been difficult.”

Because he was working during the London auditions for this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, Richard attended the auditions in Liverpool.

Millions of television viewers saw him use his magical powers to create an origami cut-out of David Beckham - who had been secretly chosen by judge Amanda Holden from a flipbook of celebrities - and then having asked David Walliams to pick a drink, poured his chosen drink of hot tea from a sealed can of drink.

However when he was at West Hatch it was Richard's trombone playing which was magic.

Music teacher Mauro Sheehan said: "I've never forgiven him for presenting me with one the trickiest accompaniments I've ever tackled. I may have to now!"

Richard’s father said: “He applied for Britain’s Got Talent last year but was unable to go before the judges as he had his pass-off parade with the horse training.

“Since the auditions Richard has been working as normal but this last week has been hectic with rehearsing as he's been time limited.

“We are extremely proud of him and all his achievements.”

Richard achieved A-level music while at West Hatch but it was at Redbridge Music School that he progressed through the trombone and had private piano lessons, his father recalls.

Richard, who was deputy head boy at West Hatch, won the Sixth Form Service to the School community award in 2009.

His father added: “He's self-motivated and committed and loyal.”

Richard has also raised money for charities through his music; by busking,,raising £1,000. His efforts have helped send a young boy to America for an operation, and also for East Anglia’s Childrens Hospices.

Richard is the latest in an ever-growing list of West Hatch students who have starred on television talent shows in recent years.

Jonathan Antoine and Charlotte Jaconelli were runners-up in Britain's Got Talent in 2012 while Sonny Jay, with the band Loveable Rogues, reached the final in the same year.

Ryan Green has reached the knockout stage of BBC's The Voice while Michael McNeish, with dance group BoyBand, reached the final of Britain's Got Talent last year.

John Wilding reached the judges' houses stage in ITV's X-Factor for two successive years in 2010 and 2011.

In addition, a string of students and their families have starred in The Only Way is Essex.
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