STUDENTS from Southend have become the stars of a primetime TV advert for the National Lottery.

The three, who are living with Down’s Syndrome, are all from Southend and all part of music teacher David Stanley’s Music Man Project - an award-winning music service that gives opportunities for musicians with learning challenges.

The advert boasts a cast of hundreds and centre stage is Wendy Wilson, 27, Sam Hayter, 31, and Graeme Shaw, 29, who all have Down’s Syndrome.

But they are defined more by their mind-blowing achievements than any disability.

In just four years they have starred in two acclaimed Sunday Nights at the London Palladium, broken a Guinness World Record, performed to the Royal Family, made a ground-breaking debut at the Royal Albert Hall in front of an audience of 3,000, and opened World Mental Health Day at the Royal College of Psychiatrists two years in a row.

Wendy’s twin brother went to university leaving a gap in her life, so her mother took her along to the Music Man Project.

She found a place she could be herself, where she could flourish and where she has a purpose.

She sings, she plays instruments and as an ambassador for the group, she travels all over the country, helping other people with learning difficulties. After her first lesson, Wendy looked at her mum, with a smile on her face and said: “This is me”.

The ad’s director was Michael Gracey, who also directed The Greatest Showman, making Wendy’s words quite poignant.

David said: “They take it all in their stride and steal the hearts of everyone they meet.

“People with disabilities overcome inequality, prejudice, ignorance and low expectations every day, as well as the challenges of their own unique circumstances. I believe in them and they inspire me.

“I praise Camelot for their willingness to promote performers with learning disabilities. Wendy, Sam and Graeme were met with professionalism, patience and respect by everyone on set, from the casting agents through to the critically acclaimed director. They were treated like the stars they are.”