Ryan, a member of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, known as ‘The Welsh Cavalry’, has served two separate stints in Iraq. Last year he narrowly avoided death in a roadside bomb which killed two of his close friends.
Speaking to Closer magazine mum Sharon said, “Ryan rang us as soon as he could to say that he was OK, but it was very upsetting for him losing two friends like that. He was so lucky to escape.”
The 22-year-old from Caerphilly auditioned for the ITV show in Cardiff, while on leave from Germany. He wowed the judges with renditions of Aint No Sunshine and Lean On Me.
Father Mike, who was paralysed five years ago during a heart operation, says he didn’t realise how good Ryan was. “I’d heard him sing around the house, but I never took much notice. It wasn’t until a few week’s ago when he sang at his brother’s 30th birthday that I realised. I was amazed. Ryan started singing and suddenly the 200 guests were dead silent. At the end everyone was yelling ‘more’!”
Corporal Ryan, who joined the Army four years ago, has been given extended leave to pursue his dream. Now Sharon and Mike are hoping he impresses the judges enough to never have to return.
Sharon told Closer, “I’m proud of him fighting for his country, but I’m hoping he’ll do so well on the X-Factor that he won’t have to go back to Iraq.” She added, “It’d put my mind at ease, that’s for sure!”