A County Durham singer-songwriter has secured a dream gig in front of 10,000 people at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena after winning a talent competition.

Craig Roddam, from Tudhoe, near Spennymoor, won the TFM Cash for Kids Big Audition after wowing judges with his performance at Middlesbrough’s Hazel Pearson Theatre on Tuesday night.

He is now set to share a bill with huge pop stars at the Christmas Live show at the Arena on  December 16, which last year featured Olly Murs and in 2014 was headlined by Ed Sheeran.

It could be the breakthrough the hard-working second year HND Music student at Bishop Auckland College has been waiting for, after years of gigging and entering talent contests.

Craig said: “This performance at the Arena will be life changing and an experience that money can’t buy. I think it will be a huge break for my career, having 10,000 people hear what Craig Roddam and my music is about – it could gain me massive exposure.

“I have seen my favourite bands play at the Arena and being there as a fan I’ve always said that one day I would love to play there, always dreaming the dream, but now that dream has finally come true!”

Craig was up against fellow singer-guitarist Chris Pryke and singers Samantha Lavery, Paul Hart and Amelia-Jade Wilde at the Big Audition, together raising £7,900 for children’s charity Cash for Kids.

The final was judged by TFM station director Dominic Munnelly, Jack Robinson from acoustic trio North Road, events management consultant Junior Masandi and Good Voodoo Music’s Dominic Nelson-Ashley.

Craig performed ‘Believe in What You Want’ from his EP of the same name, which he recorded at the college and launched at the O2 Academy in Newcastle in January, and a cover of an old American folk song called ‘Wayfaring Stranger’.

Mr Munnelly said: “Yet again the standard of entries to this year’s competition was superb, and the finalists underlined how much great music talent there is right here in the region. The judging process called for some very difficult decisions but Craig was a worthy winner.

“He’s a passionate performer and his style of delivery is unique and something that I’m sure the 10,000 fans at the Metro Radio Arena in December will really enjoy. We’re grateful to all the performers and their friends and families who did incredibly well to raise over £7,000 in cash for our charity Cash For Kids. This will be distributed locally to help disadvantaged children.”

Craig added: “I feel amazing; I didn’t think I would win it but when my name was announced I just was in total shock. All the other finalists were amazing and I thought any one of them would win it but me. My friends and family were ecstatic; they were rooting for me and the support was amazing.”

The 27-year-old is currently promoting his EP at gigs across the region and working on a music video and songs for his next EP, and hopes to secure a place at the University of Sunderland in September to achieve his degree in music. Last December he was nominated for best EP at the UBeat Music Awards at NE6 Suite in Newcastle, which were televised on the Made in Tyne & Wear digital channel.

Natalie Davison, Principal of Bishop Auckland College, is delighted at his latest success: “Craig is a very talented musician who we are all very proud of at the college. He has worked so hard to achieve success and recognition and hopefully the Arena show in December will be the big break he has been waiting for.”