Picture gallery - Louis has the Free Press factor!

THE Free Press officially backs Louis Tomlinson's X-Factor bid and we want you to show your support by voting for the teenage singing sensation.

Following our exclusive coverage of the 18-year-old's quest for musical success, we joined the One Direction popstar as he returned to his hometown to visit family, friends and former schools.

With his first day-off in nearly two months since being thrust into the limelight, the One Direction singer took a break from his talent show exploits.

Louis was mobbed by fans as he visited former schools, hung out with friends, went to the cinema and spoke exclusively to us.

He delighted hundreds at Willow Primary, in Alston Road, Bessacarr, and spoke to the starstruck youngsters about following his dream and the dizzy heights of his new-found celebrity lifestyle.

Louis, of Stoops Lane, Bessacarr, also went back to see friends at The Hayfield School, in Auckley, and Hall Cross Upper School, where he was studying A levels before the show.

He said: "It's been absolutely lovely coming back and it's been great seeing everyone. I've loved every minute of it and just wish I could do it more.

"It's my first real day-off in seven weeks so I wanted to cram in everything."

Kicking-off his return, Louis faced a sea of youngsters at Willow Primary School which staged a special assembly. He spoke about life with bandmates Harry Styles, 16, Zain Malik, Niall Horan and Liam Payne, all 17, and amassing thousands of screaming fans and chart-topping celebrity support from the likes of Take That, Westlife and The Saturdays.

Hundreds of young hands were thrust into the air eagerly waiting to find out about his time on the show, that his best friend from X-Factor was bandmate Harry, that all of One Direction thought fellow contestant Rebecca Ferguson was "very beautiful" and that Louis was the messiest in the house.

He got Ali Comack, ten, to the front of the hall where she sang Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson's Aint No Mountain High Enough with the school choir.

Louis said: "I was nervous about the talk but enjoyed it. Hopefully if I have inspired one person then that would be great."

Headteacher Yvonne Buckley told how Louis first stood out when he sang in Willow's school talent show seven years ago.

"I remember he performed a song by Busted and everyone said how he just stole the show," she said.

Louis said how he missed parents Johannah, 37, and Mark, 40, and sisters Lottie, 12, Felicite, ten, and six-year-olds Daisy and Phoebe.

He added: "Mum and dad go to the performances so we catch up afterwards but it's not the same as getting to spend some proper time with them at home."

Louis admitted One Direction were worried about last week's song choice of Kim Wilde's Kids in America which all the judges liked.

"After the first soundcheck we really enjoyed it so unfortunately we had to admit to Simon that he was right as per usual," Louis joked.

"Each week we're getting better, we're just so grateful to those who vote for us. We just have to keep upping our game."

"We got told what song we're singing on Monday. All I can say is it's a classic."

And his celebrity status shows no signs of slowing down after the band was invited to the Pride of Britain Awards. Louis got to walk the red carpet and met a host of stars which included Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard.

He added: "It was amazing and an honour to be invited to these events, we just can't believe it sometimes." Louis got to walk the red carpet and met a host of stars which included Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard.

He added: "It was amazing and an honour to be invited to these events, we just can't believe it sometimes."

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WELCOME BACK: Staff and pupils at Willow Primary have an assembly with Louis. Picture: Liz MocklerD7640LM

MATES: Louis with l-r Josh Smith, Stan Lucas, Daniel Woollett, Calvin Rodgers, Ben Martin and Laura Hickey.

CATCH UP: Louis Tomlinson meets up with his sisters at Willow Primary School., l-r are Phoebe, Felicite, and Daisy. Picture: Liz Mockler D7638LM

Cheeky CHAPPY: Louis takes a break from X Factor to come home. Picture: Liz Mockler D7647LM