A FORMER Coleg Gwent student and current contestant on The X Factor returned to his former haunt to entertain audience of Independent Living Skills students and staff.

Russell Jones, 25, of Sebastopol, studied music and performing arts for three years at the Crosskeys Campus and was welcomed back on Wednesday, October 11, for his special performance.

“The staff were always really supportive of me and said follow your dreams, so it is lovely to be singing here,” he said.

“I’m dyslexic and music has helped me with reading and writing – I can learn the lyrics of a song quicker than reading a book.

“My advice to young people starting out is to do something you feel passionate about and follow your heart.

“Being in Only Boys Aloud built my confidence and when someone suggested I enter X Factor I thought I’d give it a go, but I never thought I’d get through the first round.“I’m grateful and enjoy every moment. If you can put a smile on someone’s face through music, it’s what it’s all about.”

Mr Jones’s late father, Russell, got him into music and he would join him performing for residents in care homes and day centres, before joining the choir, who came third in Britain’s Got Talent in 2012.

Debbie Field, the head of school of care, said: “Our students have had a fabulous time with Russell who has brightened a rainy day.”

“We are very happy to welcome him back to college and hope to see him again soon.”