Lost Voice Guy wins Britain's Got Talent
A disabled comedian known as the Lost Voice Guy has been crowned the winner of Britain's Got Talent.
Lee Ridley, who developed his act while working for Sunderland City Council, has Cerebral Palsy, which has left him unable to talk and sees him use an i-Pad to communicate.
He developed his act - Lost Voice Guy - while working as an online content manager in the council's media department.
Lee programs routines into a voice synthesizer in his computer and selects which bits to use based on audience reaction.
The funnyman receives Â£250,000 and the opportunity to perform at The Royal Variety Performance.
On winning the show, Lee said he was "really grateful" for all the love he had received.
He joked: "I'm very excited to perform in front of the Queen.
"I've loved her since she sang Bohemian Rhapsody."
The panel had been full of praise for the performer, who is from Newcastle, with Alesha Dixon saying he would "inspire so many people" and David Walliams saying he had turned a negative (losing his voice) into something positive.
Judge Simon Cowell said after the results that he was thrilled to see him win.
"You so deserved this," he said.
Comic Robert White was runner up of the ITV show and singer Donchez Dacres was third.
A total of 11 acts competed in the final.
Since leaving the civic centre to concentrate full-time on his stand-up career, Lee has become a popular performer at the Edinburgh Fringe, written a BBC Radio 4 show called Ability, and been named the BBC New Comedy award winner in 2014.
The former Barbara Priestman School pupil has also told jokes and presented motivational speeches for a range of organisations, including Communication Matters, Find a Voice, the Royal College of Nurses, Percy Hedley School and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.
He even did work experience aged 20 at the Echo having initially set his sights on a career in journalism despite not being able to talk.
And he has been appointed patron of North East children's charity Smile For Life, which works and hopes to show others that disability should not be an obstacle to success - and use his role to get more disabled young people involved in comedy and performing.
He will make North East audiences laugh once more when he appears at this summer’s South Tyneside Comedy Festival.
He’ll be taking to the stage at The Customs House, South Shields, with his latest show, Inspiration Porn, on Saturday, July 28.
Tickets for Lost Voice Guy at South Tyneside Festival are on sale now priced at Â£8 from the box office on 0191 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk.