Colin Thackery’s BGT win gives heartwarming hope for us all, says Darren Lewis

“It all started as a dare, you know” said Colin Thackery, the 89-year-old winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2019.

Some friends had egged him on a year ago at a lunch.

“And now you’re £250,000 richer,” said Britain’s Got More Talent host Stephen Mulhern. “Are they going to get a slice of your winnings?”

“No, certainly not!”

At a time when you could easily lose hope for prime-time television, Colin is a heartwarming reminder that the small screen need not be all about sex and six packs.

He brought the kind of wholesome family night entertainment that weekend night TV is crying out for.

The guy with the back story as poignant as any of the songs he’d belted out on the way to victory.

Colin impressed with his renditions of Dame Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again and Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings.

They were his tributes to his late wife Joan, who had died from breast cancer three years ago.

They’d married in 1950 before he was sent off to fight in the Korean War. After she passed away – they’d been together 66 years – he moved to the Royal Hospital Chelsea with the Chelsea Pensioners.

Was there a sense of predictability about his triumph, coinciding with the forthcoming 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings?

Probably. But who cares?

It was in Korea that Colin had his hearing permanently damaged by artillery fire and suffered frostbite in one leg.

Now he has the chance to sing for the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance.

We live in a time when the respect that Colin and our parents’ generation could take for granted has slowly been eroded. It’s been wonderful to see him savour his success.

“He had a difficult East End background,” said son Peter. “Money was tight, and he didn’t have the best education.”

Now he has a recording deal and has won the hearts of the nation.

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