A BALLET boy wonder has put aside the mocking and jeering to dance his way to success.
Budding Billy Elliott, Matthew Cruddace-Wynne, pictured, has been given an award and grant to help fund his dance training after he was tipped for the top.
The 12-year-old has been presented with this year’s County Durham Community Foundation’s Outstanding Achievement Award.
The young dancer from Chester-le-Street, who will be playing Fritz in The Nutcracker, was presented with his trophy by Olympic swimmer Chris Cook.
Matthew said: “I am very surprised and shocked. I did not expect to get this award.
“I really enjoy the performing side of ballet. It is enjoyable to share your passion for dance with other people.”
The talented dancer will be performing with the Birmingham Royal ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome and the O2 Arena in London.
Matthew attends the prestigious ballet boarding school Elmhurst, in Birmingham, on a scholarship, where he trains for four hours a day and is one of six boys in his class.
Matthew added: “There have been people who have taken the mick out of me and jeered me about it, but I have to keep going to follow my dream.”
Matthew first started dancing at the age of four,.
His mum Gayle Cruddace-Wynne, originally from Easington, said: “It is funny because I grew up where they filmed Billy Elliott, but I would not let him see the film until recently because of all the swearing.
“We are so proud of him,” added Gayle.
The awards ceremony, entitled Realising Dreams, was held in the Castle View Suite at Durham County Cricket Club’s International Ground.
Guest speaker Chris Cook said: “We need to fuel our young people’s passion for sport with inspiration to follow their heart-felt dreams.
“Raising aspirations, providing reasons to strive and helping them to explore their fullest potential are all important in supporting our young athletes.
“The London Olympic Games is a great opportunity to inspire and leave a legacy. The true legacy will be left in the young people we inspire,” added Chris.
Runners up including 23-year-old British rower Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell, from Durham and GB Water Polo Talent Development Squad member Holly Short, were also praised for their achievements.