Steve Hewlett has been a ventriloquist since the age of 12.

Based in Eastbourne, he has featured in everything from Britain’s Got Talent to This Morning, and next year is planning The Worlds Best Ventriloquist to tour in the UK, along with creating a fan club for the entertainer Ronn Lucas.

Your East Sussex chats to Steve to find out more about the world of being a ventriloquist.

How did you become a ventriloquist?

I started learning to be a ventriloquist after seeing one on TV in 1987. Jimmy Tamley won the New Faces Final, I became his Rodey and learned from him for 10 years.

What appealed to you about the role?

I loved the fact that Jimmy was a puppeteer and comedian and he made people not only laugh, but amazed them with an extra talent. I wanted to do ventriloquism meeting him when I was 12.

What do you most enjoy about the job?

I love the fact I can make people forget about their worries and the world around them for an hour, by bringing them into my world of fantasy and comedy of talking animals and little people. I also treasure the charity work I’ve been involved with. For 25 years I’ve been able to give people joy with my talent. I love working with and meeting new people every day.

What have been the highlights of your career so far?

I have been proudly made member no 883 of the Grand Order of Water Rats, a British Showbiz Charity following in the footsteps of the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy and more recently Roy Wood and Neil Morrisey.

To celebrate our 125th year, we were invited to Buckingham Palace to have tea with Companion Rat HRH Prince Phillip and Her Majesty The Queen. I was pleased to introduce my wife and Eastbourne girl Nina to the Queen as we chatted.

Another highlight has to be my semi final and final TV Spot on Britain’s Got Talent in 2013, when I got to make Simon Cowell laugh twice with my little Simon & Sinitta dummies! It was great TV and has over three million hits on youtube.

I see you’re based in Eastbourne, have you always lived there?

I was born in Basingstoke in 1975 and at 24 I moved to Eastbourne to perform in a Summer Season Variety Show at the Hippodrome Theatre, where I met a dancer who later became my wife, Nina. That was 15 years ago and we now have all our friends around us, Nina’s family and a gorgeous three-year-old daughter Lola.

What do you like about living in Eastbourne and East Sussex in general?

I love the people here, they’re very loyal to me whether it’s to support my career or charity events. I love that I’ve performed many pubs, clubs, care homes, halls and all of Eastbourne’s theatres. I opened my first UK tour at the Congress Theatre and we had over 600 attend, which was overwhelming.

But in general Sussex is stunning, drive one way you’re on the beach, the other and you’re in the country side. We have Brighton or Hastings, Kent or London nearby, it’s idyllic on the Downs, what’s not to like?

For more details about Steve Hewlett and his performances visit The Steve Hewlett Show