Samuel Kneen (Cardiff) is Mr Gay UK 2011!

SAMUEL KNEEN (22) was awarded the prestigious accolade of Mr Gay UK after months of grueling competition. The contest returned after a three year gap due to popular demand and the extension of social-networking opportunities, giving a new edge this year - the online vote.

But being pretty and pert are no longer good enough; this time the Mr Gays were going to have to ‘sing’ for their proverbial ‘supper’ and go out and about, campaigning for votes.

Some pledged on Twitter, some chased through Facebook. There were topless boys out on the streets of the respective towns and cities having photos with celebs, while others had interviews with press and radio stations, all gathering fans and support.People could vote via, Facebook or Twitter for the guy they felt has the cutest face, hottest bod or nicest bum.

The top five were announced on 30th November then invited to the Grand Final. They were Greg Lumley (Middlesbrough), John Wheeldon (Leeds), Nik Chapman (Newcastle), Charlie Drummond (Bristol) and our very own Samuel Kneen (Cardiff). This year the Grand Final was held at Club Mission in Leeds on Saturday 10 December, where Samuel was crowned the winner by the three judges, including renowned phographer Jay Eff, Rob Gunns of Manhunt UK and Hollyoaks’ Kieran Richardson.

Kneen, who won the Cardiff heat at Pulse back in September said: It’s made me feel like a new person, like this is a new chapter. It’s like all my Christmases have come at once

Many star names have also been associated with the contest: Lily Savage, Jason Donovan, Graham Norton, Jane McDonald, Rhona Cameron, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Wilson, Jean Paul Gaultier, Denise Van Outen, Antony Cotton, Danny La Rue and a host of TV and soap stars are just a few of the fabulous people who have acted as celebrity judges and hosts.

Terry George, the organizer and promoter of the event said: Samuel’s been a great contestant and is definitely a deserved winner. I’d like to congratulate him along with all our other finalists, and thank them for making 2011 a great year for Mr Gay UK

The prizes this year include a professional photo-shoot on location in Morocco, the opportunity to enter Mr. Gay Europe and £2000 in cash.