Norwich brain tumour patient meets Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and the X Factor finalists including Honey G in extra special charity trip

L-R Mark Barley, Jessica Barley, Melanie Barley, Ashley Barley, Honey G, Samantha Barley Picture: Th

L-R Mark Barley, Jessica Barley, Melanie Barley, Ashley Barley, Honey G, Samantha Barley Picture: The Brain Tumour Charity - Credit: Archant

An inspirational teenager from Norwich battling the effects of a brain tumour hung out with Honey G, Simon Cowell and other X Factor stars in an extra special trip to the London studios.

Ashley Barley with Simon Cowell Picture: The Brain Tumour Charity

Ashley Barley with Simon Cowell Picture: The Brain Tumour Charity - Credit: Archant

Ashley Barley, 13, from Thorpe Hamlet travelled to the capital on Friday (Nov 18) to watch the six remaining contestants rehearse for Saturday's live show.

They were invited by The Brain Tumour Charity after producers of the hit ITV show offered to host the visit.

Ashley was joined by mum Samantha, dad Mark and sisters Melanie, 11, and Jessica, 18.

The family got to meet all the contestants at the meet and greet including Honey G, Five After Midnight and bookies' favourite Matt Terry.

The Barley family with bookies' favourite Matt Terry Picture: The Brain Tumour Charity

The Barley family with bookies' favourite Matt Terry Picture: The Brain Tumour Charity - Credit: Archant


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Judges Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell also made time to mingle with the visitors in between the acts' rehearsals– and Dermot O'Leary was on hand to say hello, too.

Samantha said: 'We're all massive X Factor fans and watch the show every week so the whole experience was absolutely amazing.

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'Even though I knew we were coming down the studios I didn't tell Ashley and the girls until we were almost here. They had no idea where we were going.'

Ashley, a pupil at Sprowston Community High School, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009 at the age of six.

Doctors ordered tests after he experienced involuntary muscle movements on one side of his body.

Samantha said: 'His right arm kept coming up to his chest. We took him to the GP and he had a brain scan the same day.'

Ashley's medical team initially hoped to avoid surgery for the tumour, which was non-malignant. However, his mobility grew worse and within weeks he was struggling to walk.'

They decided to operate and surgeons managed to remove most of the growth but Ashley still has a shunt in his head to remove excess fluid.

He lives with the effects of the tumour and is a regular visitor to both the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and Addenbrookes.

Emma Percy, children and families worker for The Brain Tumour Charity, said: 'We were thrilled to be invited to the X Factor studio and overwhelmed by the welcome we were given.

All of the contestants and judges were so friendly – they made it a really special day for all of the children and families and helped to create some wonderful memories.

We are so grateful to everyone at the X Factor who made it happen.'

You can find out more about the excellent work of The Brain Tumour Charity here.

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