Hundreds of school pupils cheered on a Bolton legend today during a quick detour before the end of a gruelling Ultra Marathon. 

A 'shattered' Vernon had a tearful reunion with former school teachers and friends after stopping at his old high school on the last leg of his 115 mile journey. 

The Bolton News: A tearful reunionA tearful reunion (Image: Harriet Heywood)

One of the faces waiting to greet the Bolton-born presenter at St Joseph's RC High School was that of his music teacher, Jane Hampson. 

She said: "I had the honour and privilege of being a music teacher here for 17 very happy years. 

The Bolton News: Jane Hampson greeting VernonJane Hampson greeting Vernon (Image: Harriet Heywood)

"During that time, Vernon Kay, and his brother Stephen, were my students.

"Vernon was a very happy, lovely lad from a gorgeous family and he was in a great year group.

"We had the pleasure of putting on a show, Guys and Dolls, he had a leading roll in that. 

The Bolton News: Jane HampsonJane Hampson (Image: Harriet Heywood)

"He had been Nicely-Nicely Johnson and had taken on a lot of the solos because he had a great voice as well as a great personality, which he has carried through his whole life. 

"He has Bolton at the heart of him and deserves all this success, he has worked hard over the years and I'm delighted for him."

The Bolton News: Vernon is reunited with old school friends and teachers

Another of Vernon's former teachers joked about his 'growth spurt' as the Bolton comedian towered over him during their reunion.

Pupils lined the outer edges of the school in a 'guard of honour' style to clap and cheer Vernon along. 

The Bolton News: Young sports leaders from the school who ran alongside VernonYoung sports leaders from the school who ran alongside Vernon (Image: Harriet Heywood)

Young sports leaders met him at the gates and joined him running around the outer edges of the school.

Despite the clock ticking, Vernon requested a quick tour inside before setting off to the Bolton Stadium. 

The Bolton News: Head girl and boy, Olivia and Harrison, waiting for VernonHead girl and boy, Olivia and Harrison, waiting for Vernon (Image: Harriet Heywood)

Whilst in the sports hall he said: "I'm shattered, but I have had some good times in here. 

"I remember my first day of school and it was wet break, everyone was breakdancing in here, it was the weirdest thing ever. 


Well done Vernon!

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"It is brilliant being back, some nice memories, I really did love school." 

Two of Vernon's former school palls, Lisa Dunn and Anne Burns, waited for him at reception.

The Bolton News: Vernon's school friends, Anne Burns and Lisa DunnVernon's school friends, Anne Burns and Lisa Dunn (Image: Harriet Heywood)

Anne, who played General Cartwright in the 'famous' 1990 school production of Guys and Dolls, said: "He was always the life and soul of the party and what you see is what you get, he is the same person we went to school with.

"His singing voice carried him through the play [Guys and Dolls] and you don't get to see him sing much but I will say this - I knew it was him on the Masked Singer last year!"

The Bolton News: Pupils waiting for VernonPupils waiting for Vernon (Image: Harriet Heywood)

Lisa Dunn added: "We also went to St John Rigby College with him. We are so proud of him and happy we could come today and celebrate all he has done, we cant wait to se his face. 

"He shows so much emotion, is so human and down to earth, he has not changed".

The Bolton News: Vernon setting off from the schoolVernon setting off from the school (Image: Harriet Heywood)

Ann continued: "For my birthday, he got me a 16th card.

"I'm of quite a nervous disposition so he put one of those poppers in that make a bang when they hit the floor in it. 

"I pulled the envelope and screamed when it made the noise, he just loves to have a laugh and a joke, he hasn't changed at all".

The Bolton News: Samantha FlanaganSamantha Flanagan (Image: Harriet Heywood)

The organiser of the 'stop off', Samantha Flanagan, social media lead and teaching assistant at the school said: "I'm particularly excited because I am a past pupil too. 

"Vernon was in the year above me and we were in a few of the shows together. 

The Bolton News: Vernon Kay met by hundreds of St Joseph RC High School Pupils

"We have a motto here, once a Joey always a Joey, so no matter where you are or what you are doing we are always there for you, which is why I asked if he would like to do the slight detour here."

Helena Flanagan, who was a sports lead during her time at the school said: "I came back today to run alongside Vernon and cheer him on during the final leg. 

The Bolton News: Vernon Kay touring his old high schoolVernon Kay touring his old high school (Image: Harriet Heywood)

"It is true, once a Joey always a Joey, so many people came out for him and he burst into tears at seeing some of his old teachers and friends. 

"It was a once in a life opportunity to run with him and a privilege."