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Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Monday, 13 December 2010
X Factor winner Matt Cardle hailed by his Essex family
X Factor winner Matt Cardle from Little Mapletstead
Cardle's X Factor win was watched by an estimated average of 17.2m people

The father of X Factor winner Matt Cardle has described the experience as the most incredible of his life.

The 27-year-old from Little Maplestead won the ITV1 talent show on Sunday and with it a £1m recording contract.

His father David told BBC Essex: "Obviously we were hoping for the best, but the outcome was unbelievable.

"He's worked so hard for this, it's not some sort of overnight success. My wife Jenny and I always knew he'd make it and always had faith in him."

"He's been working at this since he was 13 or 14 - he's always wanted to perform," he added.

"He's never wanted to be a pop star. It's not fame and fortune, he just lives music and all he wants to do is play music, perform music, write music and he's where wants to be."

Former painter and decorator Cardle beat Rebecca Ferguson and One Direction to the prize and will now bid for the coveted Christmas number one with the song 'When We Collide'.

David explained he and his family had been up until 4am celebrating Matt's victory, but had seen little of Matt himself.

"We saw him for about three minutes after the show. He was being dragged by various people from one corridor to another part of the building," he said.

"We were told he's just been given his schedule for the next two weeks and we waved to each other and that was about it unfortunately.

"But I think that's the way it's going to be from now on."

Among many others in the county wishing to congratulate the Essex singer was the Deputy Mayor of Halstead, Jackie Pell.

"Everybody is just so stunned at the moment and so pleased," she said.

"He deserved to win and he showed what he is made of when he was ill (for the semi-finals). We just love him here.

"He lives two miles away and villages like Little Maplestead look upon Halstead as their main town.

Before he went on X Factor he did say he would sing at our wedding, but whether or not that will come true I don't know
Chris Heap, manager of the The Bull Hotel in Halstead

"The youngsters and the pubs have been very supportive and if he could find time to do something for the young and not-so-young in the town, we would be very pleased to have him."

Another celebrating the win was Chris Heap of The Bull Hotel in the town, where Cardle has performed, worked behind the bar and decorated the rooms.

"I just can't explain the euphoria that was in the pub, it was unbelievable," he said.

"People were crying and there was a lot of emotion flying around, but the boy did well.

"Before he went on X Factor he did say he would sing at our wedding, but whether or not that will come true I don't know."

Cardle will now embark on a hectic schedule of promotion for his new song, before taking part in the X Factor tour in 2011 and recording an album, which is expected to be released next autumn.

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