RICK Astley wowed the Haydock Park crowds at a special homecoming gig on Saturday night – and ensured his mum was centre stage with him for a special performance.

The Newton-le-Willows lad, who achieved super-stardom as a singing sensation in the 1980s before walking away from the industry at the peak of his fame, enjoyed being back on home turf.

And to mark his first musical return to his roots since those glory days Rick, 45, who now lives in London where he has recording studios, invited his mum Cynthia – a former singalong pianist – on stage.

It was the first time they had performed together in public and the Nat King Cole classic When I Fall In Love went down a treat with a delighted audience of more than 6,700.

After watching her son belt out the hits, she told the Star: “I think he’s better than ever.”

Cynthia, who still lives in Newton-le-Willows, added: “I didn’t know anything about it until he rang me the Thursday night before the concert and said ‘Mum I want you to play a song for me on stage.

“I said you must be ‘joking’ all I have ever done is play singalong for 26 years – always in pubs not in public like that.

“He said ‘mum it will be beautiful’ but I wasn’t sure about using electric pianos because they can be a bit jerky.

“But he took me to the piano, it was lovely and he persuaded me. We just did the one song and it was a very good evening.”

Cynthia, a grandmother-of-six aged in her 70s, is delighted by Rick’s comeback over recent years.

He walked away from the pop world in 1993 after achieving global fame in his early 20s with hits Together Forever and Never Gonna Give You Up.

Rick, who grew up in Park Road, Newton-le-Willows, and attended St Peter’s Primary School and later Selwyn Jones High School, rolled off the hits for the racecourse’s first music night of the year – just a few miles from old haunts like the Legh Arms and the Oak Tree, just a few miles from where his talents first shone as a teenager.

Cynthia added: “I think he is better than ever. He has done very well. He was a very shy person when he was younger but the music brought him out. I am very pleased for him and he does love it.

“There was a group of ladies who had travelled all the way from Spain. His following still stretches right across Europe.”