Incredibly touching gesture for boy, 9, beaten up by bullies for loving musicals

Last week actress and music teacher Jacqueline Hugh shared an impassioned plea online, asking for help from her colleagues in the industry.

She revealed that one of her students, a nine-year-old boy named Charlie, was being bullied because of his love of musical theatre.

In her post she claimed cruel children verbally abused him, calling him "fat", "gay" and "stupid" and on one occasion the youngster was left "curled up, crying" after being beaten up by six other boys.

All of this lead Jacqueline to ask if those who had experienced something similar could film a short video message to cheer him up.

Soon after, the hashtag #CheerUpCharlie began doing the rounds on Twitter and a number of West End stars shared advice and warm wishes for the boy from Reading.

Among the responses were messages from cast members of hit musicals such as Wicked, Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Annie and Aladdin.

Actors from Rock of Ages even filmed a special warm up for Charlie, performing a rendition of Sir Elton John's track,' I'm still standing'.

Then on Monday, July 22, he got yet another special surprise – this time from one of his greatest heroes of the stage.

During a visit to appear on BBC Breakfast, hosts Dan Walker and Louise Minchin played him a video recorded by Michael Ball.

He said: "Charlie, it's Michael Ball here. So look, we have something in common. We both love musicals.

"But I hear you have been getting some stick for your enjoyment of them and you love the musical theatre.

"Let me tell you something, you got the right idea. It is cool. I'm sending you lots of support. Cheer Up Charlie is a great campaign."

The 57-year-old actor continued: "Bullying is something that is unacceptable and listen, if you're down in London and fancy coming to see the new Les Mis, it's sold out but I can sort you out tickets. Why don't you come and see it and I'll introduce you to everyone afterwards as well.

"Stay cool. Stay musical. Maybe we'll get on stage together one day? Who knows. Take care mate and I am sending you so much love and power. God Bless."

Charlie's jaw dropped when he saw the famous face appear on screen and when the clip ended he confessed the whole thing had left him "speechless".

His mum, Kat, said she couldn't believe the response they have received and added that she thinks people like her son are born with "musical theatre in their hearts" and it's something that "doesn't just go away".

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