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PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:06 23 August 2010

A TEENAGE opera singer dubbed the Young Maestro is appealing to businesses for sponsorship after funding from the chairman of a football club ended. Baritone singer Matthew Crane, 16, a former pupil of Gads Hill School in Higham, needs sponsorship to h

A TEENAGE opera singer dubbed the "Young Maestro" is appealing to businesses for sponsorship after funding from the chairman of a football club ended.

Baritone singer Matthew Crane, 16, a former pupil of Gads Hill School in Higham, needs sponsorship to help pay for his musical education, piano and vocal lessons, website costs and travel to competitions.

The young singer was previously sponsored by Paul Scally, chairman of Gillingham Football Club, who offered his financial backing after hearing Matthew perform in Rochester Cathedral.

But funding was not renewed last month, and he is now looking for businesses in north Kent to step in and help him take his career forward.

He regularly performs at major events across the county, including the annual Dartford Festival in Central Park, Dartford, attended by tens of thousands of revellers.

Matthew, who left Gads Hill School in July this year, said: "The funding is so important to me. It helps me with so many things - lessons, my travel to competitions I take part in all over the country. It helps me keep on improving.

"I have a few important competitions coming up in November and December, and if there are any businesses out there who would like to sponsor me it would be great for them to get in touch."

The teenage sensation, from High Halstow, has won more than 45 competitions and numerous trophies at festivals.

The first major success came when he won BBC2 talent show Let me Entertain You in 2006, and a year later managed to get to the boot camp stage of hit television singing show The X Factor.

He is currently studying for a National Diploma in music practice at Mid Kent College in Medway, and hopes to attend the Royal Academy of Music in the future.

His mother, Shirleyanne Williams, said: "We are very grateful for the sponsorship that Matthew has received from Paul Scally. It helped him do so much, but sadly that has come to an end.

"It would be wonderful if any businesses out there can step in and offer him sponsorship. It would mean so much to Matthew."

Matthew is also an honorary patron of Cerebral Palsy Care charity in Cliffe Woods, alongside comedian Joe Pasquale, and has helped raise £300,000 for charity during his career.

If you can help with sponsorship, contact Matthew's mother Shirleyanne at sawmac@heronfields.freeserve.co.uk.

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