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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Hat-trick for Furness as music stars shine a talent show

IN true talent contest style, it was left for the winner to perform one last time to finish the show.

But at the conclusion to the Furness Building Society Charity Challenge, the modest winner had not quite read the script.

Ulverston singer-songwriter Rita Baugh did not even contemplate winning and had already packed her guitar away in the car following her show-opening performance in the Lancaster Grand Theatre on Saturday night.

So when she was announced in first place, Ben Steel, who played the cajon on her winning song, had to run back into the car park, and returned a few minutes later, doused in rain, but with the instruments in hand.

In the meantime, the victor treated the audience to an acapella performance, before finally playing out with her winning, self-penned song Walking Alone.

It capped a fantastic night for Furness, which had three acts in the 12-strong field of performers from across the North West.

Not only did Mrs Baugh, of Church Walk, Ulverston, come first and win £1,000 for her hometown St Mary’s Hospice, but Danielle Messenger, 15, of Kendall Croft, Barrow, was runner-up after impressing the judges with her acoustic version of How We Do by Rita Ora.

Third place went to singer Devan Moore, 17, from Barrow, a Carlisle College student, who made it a hattrick for Furness winning £500 for The Orchid Project.

Mrs Baugh, whose songs are all personal to her life, said: “I’m incredibly surprised and chuffed. I did not expect to be in the top three even.

“I thought there were a lot of really good performers. I think it probably is one of my very best accomplishments, though I made a CD; that might just tip it just slightly because I’ve been wanting to do that for many years.

“I’m really pleased to have got this money for the hospice.”

For Danielle, coming second – a progression on her third-place finish in Lakes Got Talent last year – was extra special as she won £750 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, chosen because her mum Michelle Lawrence has the condition.

The St Bernard’s Catholic High School pupil said: “I’m delighted. I didn’t expect to get in the top three. There’s so much competition this year, I couldn’t believe it. I’m so happy.

“It’s like I’m going up – third in Lakes Got Talent, now second, so hopefully it’s first next! It meant a lot to do well for my mum. I’m glad to know she’ll be proud of me.”

The entertaining show also included ballroom dancing, an interactive mash-up of Oasis and LMFAO, and a choir with members ranging from children to women in their 80s to name just a few. Every act won £100 for their chosen charity.

Steve Pryer, FBS deputy chief executive, told the audience. “We were treated to some fantastic performances tonight and the acts made it very, very difficult for the judges – it’s been an incredibly hard job. But I’d like to remind everybody that nobody goes away without a cheque for their charity tonight – some are bigger than others, but they are all winners.”

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