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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Talented South Cumbria acts battle to win prizes for charity

FURNESS will be strongly represented at the final of a talent contest which has attracted some of the best acts from across the North West.

Five acts from South Cumbria have made the Furness Charity Challenge showpiece final, to be held at the Lancaster Grand Theatre on January 19.

They will compete with nine other entries to win a share of more than £3,000 in cash prizes for their chosen charities.

The judges were so impressed by the standard this year they expanded the final line-up from 12 to 14.

The finalists will compete for prizes of £1,000 for first place, £750 for second place, and £500 for third place – with £100 for each of the other finalists.

Singer Tiffany Southward, of Saves Lane, Ireleth, reached the final thanks to her audition video in which she sang Katherine Jenkins’ Time to Say Goodbye a capella.

The 16-year-old music student, who also reached this year’s Lakes Got Talent final, has been singing since she was in Year Two at school and now performs gigs regularly.

Becoming a Lakes Got Talent finalist aided her progression and Tiffany now hopes to boost her chosen charity, Alice’s
Escapes, in this competition.

The former Askam Carnival queen said: “It’s really helped my confidence loads – a lot more than I thought it would.

“I’m at Kendal College doing music, so hopefully I can become a music teacher, or a performer as well.”

Alice’s Escapes was set up by teenage Ulverston cancer battler Alice Pyne to help provide free holidays for families with a seriously ill child. Tiffany said: “It’s based in the area and a lot of my friends know her personally, so I thought it would be a nice gesture.”

Acoustic guitarist and singer Joe Slater, of Orion Terrace, Walney, impressed the judges with his video audition in which he sang Robbie Williams’ Candy – even though he insists it was all a bit last-minute.

The 23-year-old, a hairdresser at The Salon in Rawlinson Street, Barrow, said: “I don’t know if my onesie had
anything to do with it!

“I did it all a bit late – sang it, put it on and that was that.”

Joe has played guitar for around two-and-a-half years and has been gigging for roughly two years around the Furness area. He performed at the Cock Rock festival in Cockermouth this year and recently represented Kendal College in a talent show.

Joe, who will be trying to win money for the Dogs Trust, said: “I always try and put my own spin on things.

“I stick to the basic melody, but if I can put a twist on it, I do.

“I think the most important thing is that it’s for charity. I can do gigs anytime, but to represent a charity is quite a highlight for me.”

High-energy drumming band Boom Dang made the cut thanks to a video which combined the best of their choreographed and audio/ visual talents.

The eight-piece band features James de Wolf, Jake Newton, Therese Johnston, Joe Nicholson, brothers Joe and Dan Nicholson, Darren Head, Kim Tweddell and Rachael Askew.

They will be aiming to win money to boost their own self-funding Boom Dang Foundation which works with youngsters in the community. The project, which has set up the Ting Tang band for up-and-coming performers, recently lost its funding.

Mr de Wolf, 24, of Rawlinson Place, Dalton, said: “The youngsters were gutted when the funding was cut, so the foundation is to keep them going.”

Amey Haughin, of Mount Pleasant, Barrow, is another finalist and expects to sing a ballad by either Adele or Eva Cassidy on the big night, after qualifying with a rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

The 32-year-old, who is training to be a teaching assistant, was also a Lakes Got Talent finalist this year, but was surprised to make another final.

She said: “I’d seen quite a lot of the videos on the site and, with them choosing 12 (altered to 14) out of all the ones on the site, I really didn’t know if I’d get through.

“Everything I do is about music or singing, so it’s nice that people recognise that as well.”

Amey, who is part of the Abbey Musical Society, worked with the Furness Homeless Support Group for around six years – so that was naturally her choice for her charity beneficiary. She said: “It’s quite surprising how much of a problem it is in Barrow and people don’t always realise how many homeless people there are.”

Young folk trio Folkadot impressed with their video performance of New Road to Alston.

The group, who only started up at the beginning of the school year, consists of St Bernard’s Catholic High School pupils Connor Wood, 14, on melodeon, Dylan Phelps, 13, on guitar, and Melissa Gibbs, 12, on violin.

The school has a ceilidh band and each year visits Hexham Gathering folk festival.

Connor, of Lichfield Close, Barrow, said: “We really enjoyed that and decided to set up our own group and thought it (the contest) would be a good way to start off.

“We’re really pleased and quite surprised (to make the final).

“I’ve done shows before, so I’m quite looking forward to it.”

The group is competing in aid of the Furness Tradition Ulverston folk festival, which also does work in the community.
Sarah Wane, Furness Building Society marketing support manager, said: “We have some fantastic charities represented by some fantastic performers and it left the judges with an incredibly tough job to select the finalists.

“Now the charity supporters have the chance to get behind their finalists and turn out at the Lancaster Grand Theatre on January 19 to cheer them on.”

The Charity Challenge final starts at 7pm on January 19.

Tickets cost £5 each, or £15 for a family ticket of four.

They are available through Lancaster Grand Theatre box office by calling 01524 64695 or visiting www.lancastergrand.co.uk.

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