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BBC Radio Ulster's Enda McClafferty
Tom's welcome included a specially composed song
 real 28k

Monday, 4 September, 2000, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Hero's welcome for Big Brother Tom
Thomas at a news conference
Thomas was the sixth person to leave the show
The quiet man of the Big Brother household was given a rapturous welcome when he arrived home to Northern Ireland on Sunday.

More than 5,000 people flocked to the tiny County Tyrone village of Greencastle to greet Thomas McDermott, who was evicted from the TV show just over a week ago.

The 31-year-old was driven through neighbouring Cookstown in an open-topped limousine before partying the night away with family, friends and fans in his home patch.

Tom became a national heart-throb during his six weeks in the specially-built Big Brother house in London where cameras and microphones track the occupants' every move.

Modelling offers

He and flirty Mel became slightly more than just good friends - after raising the temperature with sensual massages, the pair kissed briefly just before his eviction, although he later maintained it was nothing more than a farewell peck.

Melanie
"No romance" with flirty Mel
On Sunday night, however, Tom revealed that absence from home had made his heart grow fonder - at least where a pint was concerned.

"Decent beer was the thing I missed the most," said the farmer's son, the youngest brother to seven sisters.

"But the thing you have to remember is to keep your feet firmly on the ground. You are flavour of the month and within a few days you are back to normal."

Tom may have lost out on the 70,000 prize for being the last person left in the Big Brother house but he is weighing up lucrative modelling and television offers.

Party organiser Oliver McCullough said: "I knew Tom from the time he was first involved in the local drama group and he was popular then.

"Tom is going to go far and I think he'll go far in showbusiness."

Eurovision Song Contest winner Niamh Kavanagh provided the music for the homecoming and local band Hazelfolk performed a special tribute song, entitled Tommy, Our Man from Tyrone.

"There will be quite a few sore heads in Greencastle come tomorrow morning," said one local man.

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See also:

02 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Claire tight-lipped on bosom pal
02 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother newcomer Claire evicted
28 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother Sada attacks show
26 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother romance denied
26 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Thomas leaves Big Brother
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