Kevin Simm: The singing star from Chorley who is now the lead singer for Wet Wet Wet
As part of our 150 reasons to celebrate Chorley, we look at the musical career of one man who has entertained millions
It's five years since Chorley's own Kevin Simm triumphed on The Voice UK.
And it's even longer that Kevin first graced our TV screens in one of the first reality talent shows ... ITV's Popstars in 2001.
That show was the first of its kind, and we all know what followed, with Pop Idol and the X Factor.
To mark 150 years of the Chorley Guardian, we're featuring stories about inspirational people, places that we love, and community groups.
Kevin Simm is definitely inspiring, and enjoying a whole new burst of fame.
The former Runshaw College student is now the lead singer of chart toppers Wet Wet Wet replacing original singer Marti Pellow who has gone solo.
COVID has been a tough time for all music acts and the 'Wets' as fans call them are no different.
The band's studio album The Journey has been delayed until this autumn but some tour dates are planned for the second half of this year, lockdown permitting.
Speaking as Wet Wet Wet initially announced the album and tour, Kevin said: "I am now part of Wet Wet Wet's history – as in I have become a member of the band.
"The real way to really cement my place and put my stamp on the band is by tracks that are originally with me at the front."
He performed live with the band a number of times before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
But in Lockdown last year Kevin didn't sit back.
He sang live from his Chorley home raising funds for Childline.
He should have been on tour with Wet Wet Wet in Australia but instead, each Friday, he hosted online gigs from his Chorley home for fans in lockdown.
He said last year: “Childline is a charity close to my heart.
"I have long supported Childline, especially since becoming a father myself and can remember many years ago as a kid going to pick my mum up from when she used to work at Childline, singing along to Motown with her on the journey home."
The concerts were viewed via Kevin’s Instagram and Facebook pages, with donations via www.justgiving.com/Kevsupportschildline2020Kevin's lead singer role in Wet Wet Wet is a long way from the Popstars days.
The winning band which was formed became known as Hear'Say - and included Kym Marsh, who went on to star in Coronation Street.
But some contestants - including Kevin - who failed to win a place in the winning band, went on to form Liberty X.
Initially billed as the "flop stars" they were more successful than Hear'Say.
Liberty X even won the gong for Best British Single for their first number one, Just A Little, beating off competition from Atomic Kitten, Gareth Gates and Will Young.
At one point America's Billboard magazine tipped Liberty X to become a big success in America.
The band split in 2007.
And so when Kevin Simm sang in the blind auditions for The Voice a whole new musical journey began, leading to Wet Wet Wet.
Chorley 150 Countdown
If you'd like to nominate someone to be part of this Chorley 150 series featuring 150 stories of inspirational people, places that we love, or special moments in the life of the borough, then email [email protected]