LIKE most Oxfordshire towns, Thame’s summer carnival is usually a modestly–attended event symbolising the genteel pace of life of middle England.

But this year’s event on Saturday resembled a highly-charged rock festival, as thousands of people flocked to the Southern Road recreation ground to see TV star and singer Peter Andre.

The Australian, who found fame as a pop star in the 1990s, had been in the town since Wednesday to film an episode of his ITV2 programme Here to Help, where the celebrity gets stuck in to assist everyday people.

The 38-year-old called in a a host of businesses, persuading them to donate raffle prizes, handed out flyers and booked acts such as a samba band to make it a day to remember. The usually staid proceedings of the carnival committee at Thame Town Council got the celebrity treatment from Andre, ex-husband of glamour model Katie Price, on Wednesday night.

Even celebrity Thame resident, ex-Bee Gee Robin Gibb, could not escape, with Andre doorstepping him and coming away with a raffle prize, a signed photo of the star and Saturday Night Fever actor John Travolta.

By 2pm, the carnival’s main stage resembled one at a music festival, with seas of screaming fans waiting for the first glimpse of the star. They were told to step back and calm down to avoid a crush.

Finally Andre came on stage to a roar from the crowd, dressed for no particular reason as hippie.

He told the crowd: “This is what the Thame Carnival should be like every year “You guys are absolutely incredible. I promise you this programme will show everyone what is going on in Thame.

“I have met some of the loveliest people in Thame and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone for making me feel so welcome.”

Beckie Thomas, 24, from Thame, said she and her friends decided to attend once they heard of the star’s involvement.

She said: “I couldn’t believe he was here. He’s probably the biggest pop star ever to come here. I fancied him when I was a teenager, and he’s still gorgeous now.”

Steff Millard, 19, from Wheatley, added: “It’s been amazing.

“I’ve followed his TV shows and it’s brilliant that he’s trying to help events like the Thame Carnival. It certainly worked.”

Carnival committee chairman Nichola Davies said: “This was by far the biggest carnival in memory.

“We had obviously done a huge amount of planning but Peter’s involvement helped take the event to another level. Hopefully the momentum will now be carried forward to future carnivals.”

Andre reached No2 in the charts with Mysterious Girl in 1995 and was brought out of the pop wilderness in 2003 when he appeared on ITV show I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here.

There he met future wife Price, formerly known as Jordan. Their marriage was the subject of a series of TV shows before they divorced in 2009.