Family of Mark McMullan describe their pride at his Britain's Got Talent journey
THE family of Co Down Britain's Got Talent singer Mark McMullan have told of their pride at how his journey has highlighted "how people with such severe disabilities can live such a strong life with love and care".
Relatives of the 24-year-old from Saintfield were among the audience at Sunday night's grand final in London.
Despite receiving a standing ovation and being praised by the show's four judges for his "beautiful" rendition of She Used To Be Mine from the musical Waitress, he failed to get a place in the top 3.
Chelsea pensioner Colin Thackery (89) won the show, receiving £250,000 and a spot on the bill of this year's Royal Variety Performance.
But for Mark's family, including his brother Declan who has locked-in syndrome, they have described their delight on being on an "incredible journey" with him as he pursued his musical career.
In a post on a Facebook page dedicated to Declan, who suffered brain damage during a cardiac arrest in March 2012, they praised the singer.
"Wow!! Little brother. You were AMAZING! and we are all proud to be from Northern Ireland," they said.
The family also told Mark "you have got talent".
"Thank you for being with us on this incredible journey," they said.
"Northern Ireland is firmly on the map now for all the right reasons, and also to show how people with such severe disabilities can live such a strong life with love and care.
"Till the next time. God bless."
Following his final performance on the show, Mark, an architect, said the experience had made him decide he wanted to pursue a career in musical theatre, amid reports he has already been approached by theatrical agents.
"The dream is just to see my name above a theatre," he said.
"I would love to be in the West End. This show really gives me the opportunity to pursue that. "
Among those to congratulate the singer on his success in the talent show was his former school, St Patrick's Grammar in Downpatrick.
It said: "Not the winner tonight but a very bright future ahead.
"Well done Mark McMullan, we’re so proud of you. See you in the West End."
Viewing figures have revealed that the Britain's Got Talent final earned ITV its highest overnight ratings of the year so far.
ITV said Sunday's episode was watched by an average of 8.5 million viewers, with a peak viewing figure of 10.6 million, a high for ITV for 2019.