CHILDREN at a Farnworth school were thrilled when the special guest at their annual dance show was revealed . . . it was comedian Peter Kay.

He was there to officially open the newly-refurbished Harper Green School theatre which has now been named the "Peter Kay Theatre".

He said: "It is a wonderful honour to have the theatre named after me.

"I wish I had had the use of a theatre like this when I was at school."

He posed for pictures with of excited children who were amazed to see the entertainer at their show. His appearance had been kept a closely guarded secret.

Assistant headteacher of the Farnworth school, Sara Cain, said: "The school has built up close links with Peter Kay through a member of staff.

"He has visited the school on a few occasions. This has included presenting awards to pupils."

The school provided pupils as extras when he recorded the video for the song Sleep by the group Texas for last year's Comic Relief.

The school theatre, dating back to the 1960s, has never had a name before, but with the £80,000 refurbishment the school decided to pay tribute to Peter Kay.

Mrs Cain said: "Not only is he local, he has become a very special person to the school and we wanted to thank him in a more permanent way."

Peter said:"It is nice to come and see and support the children in Bolton.

"Getting involved with drama is wonderful for the children. It breaks down barriers of shyness and it fills them with confidence and belief in themselves that they can take with them through the rest of their life."

"I have worked with pupils at Harper Green School before when they appeared in my video.

"There are some very talented pupils in Bolton."

The popular comedian stayed to enjoy the pupils' performance of "Anything Goes", which featured a selection of modern jazz, ballet and modern dance.

It featured a cast of hundreds from all year groups and also former pupils who are now at college.

Liz Kay, aged 14, who was taking part in the show, said: "I can't believe Peter is here. He is such an inspiration.

"Its great that he has come to support the show. It is just so exciting that he came to watch us."

Another pupil and fan of the comic, Jade Hodges, aged 13, said: "It makes such a difference performing in a theatre. We are very lucky to have it.

"It's brilliant that Peter Kay has come to watch us."

Headteacher Peter Jefferies said: "We have a number of rooms named after famous people in Bolton.

"The aim is to inspire pupils so that they realise what they can achieve through hard work.

"It is great that Peter Kay could make it."