Pop idol finalist Aaron Bayley has left hundreds of adoring schoolchildren devastated after pulling out of a gig just days before the big event.

The geordie ex-train driver didn't even take the time out to tell fans himself that he won't be at the concert.

Organisers of the show 'Celebrate' were furious when a man claiming to be the Pop Idol's website designer said Aaron wasn't turning up.

Peter Darrant, organiser of the event at Lumley Castle said: "Aaron has turned his back on the very people who voted for him in Pop Idol and left it up to us to do his dirty work and break the news.

"Aaron was the main attraction at the concert and hundreds of people have bought tickets to see him. He's let so many people down."

The Pop Idol failure, who resorted to pantomime after not getting any work following his exit from the ITV show, will instead be appearing at Birmingham's Party in the Park on Saturday.

The County Durham gig, which has sold over 1,000 tickets priced at £10 each, is to celebrate 1,000 years of history in Chester-le-Street.

Aaron had arranged to sing two songs, which were especially written about the town, with a choir of two hundred local schoolkids.

He was also penciled-in to launch the spectacular firework display at the finale on Saturday night, to end a day of partying. Newkar Primary School's music teacher Anne Martindale, who has worked with 46 pupils aged between eight and 10, was disappointed at the news.

She said: "We have a number of Aaron Bayley fans here and they'll be very disappointed. But the show must go on, regardless."

A spokesman for Aaron's management company, MPC, said Party in the Park was more important and that Aaron wasn't turning his back on the North East.

He said: "We were approached a couple of weeks ago by the organisers of Party in the Park, inviting Aaron to the concert but it wasn't confirmed until late on Wednesday night.

"It is an absolute honour to be asked to do Party in the Park and he would have been foolish to turn it down."

Celebrate, which was written by local composer George Hastings and former Dr Who star Colin Baker, features scores of youngsters from seven different schools across Chester-le-Street.

The day-long festival marks the myths and legends of the town with events coming together at Lumley Castle at night.