DOGS at a re-homing centre had a visit from a celebrity guest.
The Voice finalist, Matt Henry, took a break from the spotlight yesterday (Wednesday) to visit Harefield Dogs Trust where he is a volunteer.
The 34-year-old’s friends and family gathered with staff and hounds at the centre in Harvil Road to film Matt’s homecoming VT in preparation for Saturday’s final, when he will battle it out with three other finalists to be crowned the winner.
Mutts of all shapes and sizes excitedly awaited the arrival of their friend, who was greeted with cheers, barks and howls as he stepped out of a people carrier into the arms of his emotional family.
Fans and friends waved Vote Matt signs, and proudly wore T-shirts with the same message as they ran to greet the overwhelmed singer.
“I can’t believe this,” said the will.i.am lookalike, as he took in his surroundings and spotted familiar faces in the crowd.
“When I entered I just thought I would give it a go, I never dreamed I would be here.”
He took an excited puppy in his arms and was given a friendly lick as he fought back tears.
“Sorry... I’m just crying because of the puppy,” he said.
Following his performance of Alicia Keys’s hit, This Girl is on Fire, on Saturday ,a public vote secured him as Jessie J’s finalist and his fellow Team Jessie rival Ash Morgan was sent home.
Matt’s new found fame is a far cry from his time working at the Dog’s Trust, where he assisted youths carrying out community service.
Matt said: “I worked on a project called Taking the Lead where we bring young people who are carrying out community hours to Harefield Dogs Trust and teach them about responsible dog ownership.
“They take three to six week courses and learn about dog law, canine behaviour and health care.
“It gives them a better understanding of the animals and a lot of people when they leave will go on to further education.
“It helps them gain a sense of trust and empathy towards the dogs that are living here, which in turn helps them in their life.
“When the young people begin to take the onus off themselves and on to an animal, see such a huge difference in them.”
Originally from Birmingham, Matt moved to London and, before his success in The Voice, was performing in the West End.
“I love coming out of London to visit Harefield,” he said,
“Whenever I come here I am gagging to get in and see which dogs have found a home since I was last here. It’s such a good feeling.
“Harefield has amazing grounds, plus it’s one of the only centres which has a tea room, which is always nice.”
Matt will go head to head with Andrea Begley, Leah McFall and Mike Ward in Saturday’s live final which is being shown on BBC One at 7.15pm.
All the finalists are spending the next few days perfecting their final performances with coaches Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue.
The winner will be decided in a public vote.