'X Factor' act will perform at school talent contest in Clitheroe

BUDDING stars of the stage will perform for a bumper prize of £750 when Clitheroe's The Grand hosts an inter-school charity talent contest later this month.

Now in its second year, "GRAB: The Event" is the brainchild of student representatives from four Ribble Valley high schools who meet monthly at Clitheroe's Grand venue. Students came up with the idea of an inter-school charity talent show that debuted with success in 2009.

The final stages of the event, including the winning cash prize, are being sponsored by the Co-operative Bank and Ribble Valley Children's Trust.

Money raised will be given to two charities chosen by the organisers; Action Duchenne and The Solomon Project, which helps to provide school meals for children in Africa.

It all begins on Wednesday, when four acts from Ribblesdale High School lock horns with counterparts from St Augustine's RC High School, Billington.

Representing Ribblesdale will be 3 Of A Kind, Shannon Bond, James Holt and Heather Barlow. The St Augustine's participants are Sarah Basquill, accompanied on piano by Claudia Ditri, Josh Lonsdale, Imogen Storey and Downloadable Hearts.

Two nights later, on Friday, January 28th, contestants from Clitheroe Royal Grammar School face off with Bowland High School at the second semi-final.

This will see six-piece dance act Enigma, For the Record (featuring Phil Bristow, Bradley Hamer, Ben Westhead and James Westhead), singer Annika Dobson and talented boy band High Hats and Bass (featuring Jay Atherton, Sam Hampson and Jamie Catlow).

Bowland High School, the school with specialist status in performing arts, will be represented by Abbi Blenkinship and Ellie Morton, Kane Taylor, Lauren Hall and Ellie Wilkinson.

Following the success of last year, more than 300 acts entered this year's auditions. The grand final will be staged on Friday, February 4th, when The Grand will unveil a special guest who appeared on X Factor 2010!

Steven Lancaster, executive director at The Grand, said: "I am once again blown away by the quality of the contestants. The standard is incredible and every one of them deserves encouragement and recognition for their outstanding talent.

"It's a privilege to be a part of the experience and to share in the organisation of this event with the young people of our schools forum."