X FACTOR winner James Arthur urged people not to give up on their dreams when he visited his home town today.
Hundreds of fans queued up in the cold for hours to get a chance to meet their hero as he signed copies of his debut single ‘Impossible’ in Middlesbrough’s HMV store.
Sixteen-year-old Shannon Walker took the day off school to catch a glimpse of Teesside’s newest star.
She said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. He has shown that the local area has talent and we are so proud of him.”
Arthur said that the enthusiastic crowd, some of whom had queued all night in freezing conditions, came as no surprise to him.
He added: “There is no place like home. I would not have expected anything else.
"In the North-East, people get behind their own...I am so happy to be flying the flag for Teesside.”
Set to become Teesside’s first number one solo artist and with the fastest selling X Factor single ever, Arthur is, as he said “breaking records left, right and centre”.
However, the once homeless teen runaway is the first to admit that life has not always been easy and offered advice to anyone in a similar position.
He said: “To anyone who struggles or has a difficult home life, I would tell them, if they have any sort of creative outlet, not to waver from that and always go to that outlet. As long as you have got that, you can take yourself out of the struggle.
“Never give up on dreams, as clichéd as it seems they can come true and I have proved that.”
Although Arthur is set to swap his tiny bedsit in Saltburn for a place in London, his feet seem to be staying firmly on the ground.
He will be home with his family for Christmas and says he is going to miss playing at the small pubs and clubs he frequented in his life before X Factor.
He said: “I am definitely going to miss playing the pubs but hopefully I’ll just get to play much bigger ones now.”