Children left ‘gutted’ by singing show scam

Pupils at a Great Cornard school have been left disappointed after the chance to sing with X Factor stars turned out to be a scam.

Children at Wells Hall Primary School received letters inviting them to perform with finalists from this year’s X Factor competition on the show’s annual charity single.

The letters, which were sent out by the school in Wells Hall Road on Wednesday, asked for parents to pay £10 for their children to have the chance to attend music studios in London and sing on the record later this year.

However, as excited youngsters returned home to share their news, staff at the school realised they had become embroiled in a scam and the organisation which had contacted them with the offer was, in fact, a fake.

Lucy Leamey, whose daughter Pacey, nine, attends the school, said the children’s dreams had been shattered.

“They are absolutely gutted,” said Mrs Leamey, who lives in Clover Court, Great Cornard, and has two other children, Theo, four, and Brandon, 11.

“They thought they were special because they had been chosen to be part of this – the whole family was invited.

“Some of the children were jumping for joy when they found out, but they have now been told it is not happening.”

On Thursday, the school sent out letters explaining pupils would not be part of the popular talent show’s charity single, informing parents not to part with any money.

“The school recognised that, unfortunately, it had become involved in what appeared to be a scam,” said headteacher Judith Fardell.

“We quickly informed parents and are working with Suffolk Police and Trading Standards.”

Mrs Fardell said that not all the school’s pupils had received the letters on Wednesday and only a small number were left “disappointed”.

She added that no money had been sent to the organisation claiming to be X Factor.

Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection, warned people to be on their guard.

“It is extremely important that people remain vigilant against potential scams,” he said. “The advice we usually give is if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

A spokesman for X Factor confirmed the show was not involved in sending out the letters.