HE is now a West End star, who this time 20 years ago was performing in Scrooge the Musical, produced by celebrated theatre company Walmsley Church Amateur Operatic Dramatic Society (AODS).

Danny Whitehead is starring in Phantom of The Opera, in London's Her Majesty's Theatre as Walmsley Church AODS once again prepares to stage the festive production, two decades on ­— but certainly hasn't forgotten when his journey to the West End began.

This time it will be 10-year-old Daniel O' Brien following in his footsteps, when the production opens tonight.

Danny said: "I have very fond memories of appearing in lots of shows within the Bolton area and it is with Walmsley that nearly 20 years ago I enjoyed playing the part of young Ebenezer Scrooge .

"I'm delighted to hear that Daniel O'Brien, the son of some very dear friends of the family, will be playing that very same role.

"I want to wish Daniel and all the cast and creatives a very successful week of shows on what I'm sure will be fantastic production."

He added: "I'm sorry I won't be able to be there myself to enjoy this wonderful Christmas musical but urge people, if they can, to go and support this fantastic cast.

"Break a leg everyone!"

Danny's is currently starring as Raoul in Lloyd-Webber's smash hit musical.

He said "I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved in many shows with a variety of amateur societies while growing up back home, and I strongly believe that drama and the performing arts are so important for young people as it encourages creativity, boosts confidence, improves communications skills and also provides a safe space to learn about ourselves and allows us to be whoever we want to be."

Danny added: "The performing arts community in Bolton and the North West are extremely supportive of each other and I have so many brilliant memories performing with friends and family over the years before moving to London. I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without everyone's love and support."

The musical is being directed by Nora Howcroft, who was in charge of direction two decades ago.

She said: “This is a lovely Christmassy production, with some incredible sets and a very talented cast, with Steve Benson playing the part of Scrooge.

Nora said: “This production has some beautiful songs.

“The audience will be laughing one minute, because there are some very funny parts in it and crying the next.

She added: “The audience are in for an absolute treat, three nights have sold out already, which is wonderful.”

Scrooge the Musical opens at The Parish Hall Theatre, Christ Church, Walmsley, tonight. It and runs until November 2 Tickets available via The Box Office Manager on 01204 305912 and through the society website at https://www.walmsleychurchaods.co.uk/