OPERA singer Ben Gillham has been crowned as Flintshire’s top talent.

The 22-year-old tenor from Holywell won a county-wide contest with a rousing performance of Nessun Dorma in the final of the Flintshire’s Got Talent competition.

Ben, a former St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School student beat the five other finalists to the £350 first prize in front of a huge crowd at My Place nightclub at the Victoria Hotel, Holywell.

He said: “Winning was brilliant. I did not expect to win because I was doing something that is different from the norm. It was amazing.

“I have been singing opera since I was 16 but I have always had an interest in it.”

A former member of the National Youth Choir of Wales, Ben went on to study music at Birmingham Conservatoire where he will return to complete his post-graduate degree.

He said: “I thought all the other competitors were brilliant. I had a lot of friends and family there and they were telling me they were so proud. A lot of them don’t get to hear me sing.

“I’m hoping for a full-time career in opera, classical music and musical theatre.”

Ben can spend up to three hours a day practising and always makes sure he has honey and lemon before each performance.

He said: “I am pleased to see opera more in the mainstream.

“People seem to respond to it when they hear it.

“People get overwhelmed by Nessun Dorma but nobody sings it like Pavarotti.”

Craig Campbell organised the competition which featured 25 performers battling it out over seven weeks.

He said: “It was really busy on the final night and there was an amazing atmosphere.

“We had a professional sound engineer and that really helped.

“Once Ben sang the whole place erupted and there was no doubt who the winner was. He was fantastic.

“All the acts were phenomenal and the standard was really high.

“The sky is the limit for all of them. I was blown away.”

David Roberts, owner of the Victoria Hotel, said: “All the competitors were good and Ben was outstanding.

“We are really pleased with the whole competition and are now planning a North Wales-wide competition.”