Northern Ireland news

Co Down singer Mark McMullan moves Britain's Got Talent audience to tears with tribute to disabled brother

Mark McMullan said his music had been a "big comfort" to his brother Declan, who lives with locked-in syndrome. Picture by ITV
John Monaghan

A Co Down man who sang a poignant tribute to his disabled brother has made it through to the next stage of Britain's Got Talent after moving audience members to tears.

Mark McMullan, from Saintfield, received a standing ovation following his rendition of Bring Him Home from the musical Les Miserables for his 26-year-old brother Declan, who suffers from locked-in syndrome.

Mark also performed the song on RTÉ's The Late Late Show in 2015.

Introducing his audition on the prime-time ITV show on Saturday, the 23-year-old - who currently works in architecture and is studying for a master's degree in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England - said: "Nearly six years ago, my older brother took sick from a brain injury.

"He's here today but he was left with a condition called locked-in syndrome – he's trapped inside his own body, the only thing he can do is hear, so my music became a big comfort for him."

Judge Simon Cowell went into the audience to speak to Declan and family members, saying he is "lucky to have a brother like you".

He told Mark: "You brought meaning to that song that I hadn't thought about before.

"You managed to combine a real tenderness with that song with a strength in the second half of the performance."

Fellow judge Amanda Holden added: "You have the most gorgeous tone and quality to your voice, when you listen to the words and you know the background to your story it was beautifully done."

Audience members were seen wiping away tears, while one fan of the show wrote on social media: "I had to make my excuses to leave the living room, then blubbed like a baby, in bathroom!"

Mr Cowell also predicted that Mark will now be attracting attention in the industry.

"I wouldn't be surprised off the back of that performance that you start getting calls from West End producers and possibly Broadway because you are that good."

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