Paul is on song for rugby showdown

Paul Sutton with his idol Ronan Keating

Paul Sutton with his idol Ronan Keating

A singer who has performed on television and around the world is looking forward to an extra special show in Wigan.

Paul Sutton, who grew up in Springfield, has been asked to sing for a bumper crowd before a key Wigan Warriors match.

He will sing on the pitch before the cherry and whites take on Australian club Cronulla Sharks in the World Club Challenge - the annual battle between the Super League and NRL champions - on Sunday.

And if singing in his home town was not enough, Paul has another reason for embracing the occasion.

He said: “My grandads were both big Wigan Warriors fans.

“My first thought was that it’s an honour because they would watch them week in and week out and it will be in memory of them.

Paul as Boy George

Paul as Boy George

“I was brought up with them all loving Wigan rugby.

“It feels a real big honour and privilege.”

Paul believes his grandfathers - Len Sutton and Sam Smith - would be pleased to know he was performing at the DW Stadium.

He said: “I think they would be really proud. It’s really emotional.”

It’s a privilege to sing in front of all those thousands of people

Paul Sutton

Paul, who now lives in Horwich, first hit the headlines in 2000 when he won TV show Stars In Their Eyes.

He has since forged a career as a Ronan Keating tribute act, performing around the world as the well-known singer from Boyzone.

The former Deanery High School pupil switched on Wigan’s Christmas lights and appeared in a special episode of The Weakest Link featuring tribute acts.

He performs every weekend, either as a tribute to Ronan Keating or Boy George, or as himself.

Paul has been asked to sing Boyzone song Who We Are before the match and will be backed by Wigan Youth Choir.

He said: “The lyrics are very appropriate for Wigan Warriors.

“It says we will battle through and we are warriors.”

He is now busy rehearsing the song and will sing two other songs, which are yet to be decided.

Paul, a mobile hairdresser, said: “I’m a bit nervous. I’m looking forward to it though. It’s a privilege to sing in front of all those thousands of people.”

He will be staying to watch the match afterwards with members of his family, who still live in Wigan.

A large crowd is expected at the DW Stadium, as Wigan try to win the world crown for the fourth time in their history - and the first time since 1994.

Organisers are putting the finishing touches to their pre-match bill, but it is likely to include fireworks and other activities.

It will be Wigan’s first match at the DW since last year, having opened their Super League campaign at Salford on Saturday with a convincing win.

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