Saturday, 05 September 2015

Furness Building Society Charity challenge talent on show

ACTS from across the North West took to the stage to battle it out for their chosen charities at Furness Building Society’s Charity Challenge on Saturday night.

The 14 performers pulled out all the stops to impress the judging panel in the hope of winning the grand prize of £1,000 for their charity.

Musical theatre student Rebecca Duckworth, from the University of Central Lancashire, amazed the judges with her performance of Part of Your World from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

The 19-year-old who took the top prize of £1,000 for St Catherine’s Hospice in Preston, was overwhelmed by her success.

The teenager, from Preston, said: “It is just amazing. I am so happy to support St Catherine’s Hospice.

“I didn’t expect to win or get into the top three so it was a total shock when I was named as the winner. I really wanted to do well for St Catherine’s which is such a fantastic charity.”

She added that the hospice is a charity which is close to her heart.

She said: “A member of my family was cared for there and they were absolutely brilliant so I was really proud to represent them in the Charity Challenge. I can’t wait to hand over the cheque to them.”

Dalton drumming sensation Boom Dang burst onto the stage with their rhythmic beats which earned them their deserved place on the podium. The band was awarded second place and a cheque for £750 for the Boom Dang Foundation for their performance.

James de Wolf, from the Boom Dang Foundation, said: “We all had a fantastic night and it was a brilliant event.”

The drum group, who are one of three bands in the foundation, were “really chuffed” with being awarded the prize.

Mr de Wolf added: “We had worked really hard on our routine so we hoped we were in with a good chance of winning one of the big prizes, but the standard was so high they could have gone to any of the finalists.”

The fun-filled performance included a skit from the Cadbury’s advert with the drumming gorilla. While one member of the group listened to a home-made boombox, the others held together their drums to make a set for Jake Newton, who wore a gorilla mask, to play.

Joe Nicholson, from Lowick, said: “We were a bit worried about the gorilla and who would get it.”

The charity, which aims to “promote creativity” in young people, has worked with bands in Barcelona, Belfast and Brussels in the past. Boom Dang has also played alongside Taio Cruz and McFly.

Mr de Wolf said: “The £750 prize from the Furness Building Society will help us to keep on running the Boom Dang Foundation and in particular, support the young drumming bands we have coming through.”

The group, who performed on Saturday night, have been drumming for about 12 years and all started as teenagers.

The 24-year-old said: “We want Boom Dang to continue to give those sorts of chances to more young people and we will keep on working with schools and encouraging more young people to come along and try it.”

Boom Dang is no stranger to the stage, having played for the Queen in Newcastle in 2002 and on BBC National Lottery Awards show.

“The very survival of Boom Dang is under threat, so the prize money from tonight will be incredibly appreciated,” Mr de Wolf explained.

Teenager Josh Taylor, aged 14, from Bolton, took third prize in the competition, winning £500 for Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley. He said: “It is hard to imagine how painful it must be caring for children who are so seriously-ill but Derian House really help them to deal with it brilliantly. I am just so pleased to have been able to win on their behalf.”

Each of the 13 charities represented in the final will receive at least £100 for taking part.

The judging panel included representatives from the Evening Mail, Bolton News, Lancaster Evening Post and The Bay Radio.

Furness Building Society’s director of sales and marketing, Martin Cutbill, who led the judging panel, said the standard of the performances in the final was “unbelievably good.”

Mr Cutbill said: “There were so many wonderful charities represented in the final and we hope that the event has helped to raise awareness of the outstanding work they do.”

Last year Furness Building Society gave more than £360,000 to charity partners and in 2013 they “want to give away even more”.

“Supporting local communities is very much part of our commitment as a mutual building society which works for the benefit of its members,” Mr Cutbill added.

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