Kieron Richardson, the actor who plays Ste Hay in Hollyoaks, has said he is relieved to have announced he is gay.

The 24-year-old came out on This Morning earlier this month.

Speaking at the Inside Soap awards last night, he revealed that he received 17,000 emails of support on the day the show was aired.

He said: “Luckily, lots of people have come forward to say what I did gave them the courage to come out to their parents.

“It’s not really a big deal but some people see it as a taboo subject still. It’s nice to be quite young and be a role model to people going through it and hopefully make their lives a bit happier.”

The star said this month that his friends and family knew he was gay and he decided to speak publicly about it because his character will be given a gay storyline.