BEFORE going on stage at Bournemouth International Centre, JLS star Oritse took time out to meet young carers following in his footsteps.

Oritse was just 11 years old when his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He dreamed of being a singer, but his thoughts turned to finding a cure for the debilitating disease.

When he left school, Oritse formed a band, but despite taking the music scene by storm, he never lost sight of his childhood hopes and fears.

Meeting Rebecca Kerley, 11, Ashley Carlson, 19, and Ethan Tanner, 8, brought all those memories flooding back.

After posing for pictures with his star-struck fans, he said: “I cared for mum and I believed music could change my life and also hers.

“Now I can do a lot more for mum. When I look at Ethan I realise how lucky I am; he’s got that same responsibility on even younger shoulders.

“Mum’s happy. She comes to watch me perform. She’s always got a big smile on her face and never complains.

“I know what these young carers are going through and it’s my passion to help with MS fundraising.”

After signing posters and books, autographed to boost the coffers of the MS Society, Oritse promised to send Ethan one of his hats to his Broadstone home.

Ethan’s proud mum Val, 44, said: “Ethan is my little helper, he unloads the dishwasher and holds my hand so I don’t fall over.

“I think I was as excited about meeting Oritse as he was. I’m very lucky; I’ve an amazing husband Nick. I couldn’t manage without him and Ethan.”

Rebecca from Parkstone said: “Oritse was so normal; I can’t wait to tell my school friends that I’ve met him. I thought mum was bringing me to the BIC to meet a friend so it was a huge surprise.”

Ashley from Ensbury Park, Bournemouth, told the Echo: “All the girls have asked me to get Oritse’s autograph.”

His mum Helen, 47, said: “Ashley helps me to cook meals and drives me around. He’s my hero.”