by STACEY HEANEY
|Family members of Aston Merrygold, including his grandmother Kathleen Chambers (left), mother Siobhan Merrygold (third from right, seated on floor) and grandfather Tim Chambers (second right), watch JLS pick up two awards at the Brit Awards on Tuesday.||Above: JLS; Marvin Humes, JB Gill, 0ritse Williams and Aston Merrygold, whose family hail from Dunmurry.|
A FORMER Dunmurry woman has spoken of her pride after her grandson scooped two prestigious Brit Awards on Tuesday night. Kathleen Chambers, who now lives in Peterborough, spoke to the Star after her grandson Aston Merrygold's band JLS picked up the Best British Breakthrough Act and the Best British Single awards with his band-mates at the star-studded bash in Earl's Court, London.
Kathleen, who was educated in Lisburn, said she and her family, including Aston's mum Siobhan who was born in Dunmurry, were filled with pride as they watched Aston win the awards which were voted for by the public.
JLS have gone from strength to strength since they appeared on the X Factor in 2008, when local readers supported the band throughout the competition, seeing them reach the final where they were runners-up to Alexandra Burke.
Since then however, Aston and his mates have become Britain's number one boyband, with two number one singles, Beat Again, for which they picked up their Brit Award, and Everybody in Love, as well! as a number one album, which has reached triple platinum status.
The band also have two sold out tours planned this year and will be visiting Belfast from February 28-March 2, when they perform three sold out concerts in the Waterfront Hall, their largest number of nights on the tour outside of London, which Kathleen and the family will proudly attend in their home country.
Kathleen, along with her husband Jim, joined their family members for a special party to celebrate the awards night, an event that became tradition as they used to watch Aston perform each week on the X Factor.
"As usual we met in my son's house and we partied" she said. "We were proud of the simple fact that JLS were performing and that they were nominated. We were talking
to Aston on Saturday night when we met him just before we saw him perform at the Hammersmith Apollo, and we told him that we would be having a party and just before the show we received a special delivery of twelve bottles of champagne from him.
"Aston texted his mum just before the show and said 'I've never felt as nervous in all my life, which is rare for him as he has nerves of steel usually, but I think it was the very fact was the Brits. About I0.30pm he called and we all had a lovely chat with him and he was over the moon. He knows the whole family are always there supporting him and it gives him a bit of support and encouragement." Speaking about the build-up to the show Kathleen said: "We didn't have long to wait, Even their performance was really early and before we even got settled the first award was announced and then of course, they won the second one. For this to happen sc early in their career, not to get one but to gel two, we're still in a daze. You just think, 'what's next?'. They are talented, no doubt about it and the show they are putting on al the moment is fantastic. We are just so proud."
Accepting his awards, Aston thanked everyone who had voted for the band saying, "You guys are absolutely unbelievable and we love every single one of you. So thank you very, very much."