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‘This is my safe space’: Collabro star Jamie Lambert reveals how a mugging prompted his country move

Pug life: Jamie and Betty are blissfully happy in their Hertfordshire home; below: Jamie loves the house’s original features

WHEN Collabro star Jamie Lambert, 29, was viciously assaulted near his flat in London’s Docklands he decided it was time to leave the capital for a quieter life in Hertfordshire.

Jamie, who won Britain’s Got Talent in 2014 with his musical theatre boyband colleagues, had just left his two-bedroom flat with boyfriend Chris when he was attacked in an attempted robbery.

‘We were walking down the street, three lads asked us for money and attacked me. They punched me in the face with brass knuckles and broke the bridge of my nose and cheekbones,’ says Jamie.

‘I was devastated,’ he reveals. ‘I couldn’t leave the house for weeks. It’s sad because I loved the area.’

Jamie had bought the flat with Collabro bandmate Michael when they won the hit TV talent show, but no longer felt safe in his surroundings.

‘When I managed to leave the house, I needed to have someone with me, and it’s difficult for me to be in crowds or take the Tube even now.’ The attack took place in January last year and three months later Jamie bought his loyal pug sidekick Betty in an attempt to get over the trauma.

Green fingers: Jamie has transformed the outdoor space and created a bee garden, below

‘I needed a constant companion at that time,’ he says. But despite Betty’s help and support, Jamie decided it was time to move.

‘I had become terrified of the area and I wanted more from a home.’

He and Chris decided to move in together and were advised to look for a place to rent in Hertfordshire as it has good transport links to London. They soon found a two-bedroom Victorian house that had just been refurbished.

‘As soon as I walked in I knew this was where I wanted to be,’ Jamie tells us, while Betty has a quick nap in his lap.

He was particularly attracted to the garden and large kitchen. ‘I’ve enjoyed gardening since I was a child and I’m very pleased that there is a good garden centre nearby.

‘I don’t sound like I’m 29 when I say things like that, but I’ve always been like this. I’m originally from a village near Durham and I wanted a garden, but you can’t have one in London unless you pay ridiculous prices.’

Jamie’s landlord has give Jamie free rein to do what he wants with the garden — and now Jamie has added a lemon tree, revived a sickly Japanese Acer and planted a herb garden.

Other touches include an array of novelty ladybird and bee garden ornaments bought by friends.

Jamie has also had fun decorating the place. He’s added a display cabinet to the kitchen, bought in a sale from a local furniture shop, which now houses his collection of glassware.

‘The glassware has sentimental value,’ he explains, ‘as it is from my grandparents.’

The chairs around the dining table have cushions knitted for Jamie by his best friend’s mum. The room includes several pug-themed items, such as a ‘puggy bank’, bought for him by friends in honour of Betty. Framed albums — bought from a local charity shop — by some of Jamie’s favourite female singing stars line the room. But Jamie’s favourite space in the house is the living room.

‘I like the original features. It’s very comfortable but it’s also modern. When we light up the shelves and alcoves at night it feels very cosy.’

A doorstop — in the shape of a pug, obviously — guards the fireplace and there are presents from fans dotted around the room, including a small painting of the Royal Albert Hall.

‘Our last tour was called The Road To The Royal Albert Hall, because it finished there. It was a significant tour for us. The fans are wonderful and they’ve given us a lot of gifts.’

Jamie has been enjoying his new lifestyle in Hertfordshire so much he’s just renewed his tenancy — although he has plans to buy a property somewhere more rural one day.

‘We’re always driving out to the countryside to have a look around, but I’ll need to save a substantial deposit.’

‘My dream home would be a detached house in a country village with a hot tub.’

Home that Jamie’s filled with pugs and kisses….

It’s not hard to guess who the queen of the house is in Jamie’s place, look at that comfy dog bed (bottom). Snug as a pug in a rug. Dog nick-nacks and ornaments adorn most walls and spaces in honour of Betty, with various mementos and presents from friends, family and fans adding homely touches throughout.

Collabro’s new album Love Like This is out now. They tour the UK in October 2020.