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EastEnders actress judges Norfolk talent contest

PUBLISHED: 12:39 03 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:07 03 September 2020

West Norfolk Academies Trust Virtual Talent Winner Ella Chim with parents Jim and Angela and sister Cara  Picture: Ian Burt

West Norfolk Academies Trust Virtual Talent Winner Ella Chim with parents Jim and Angela and sister Cara Picture: Ian Burt

Ian Burt Photography

Pupils across west Norfolk played, sang and danced their way into a lockdown online talent show which was judged by EastEnders actress Gillian Taylforth.

West Norfolk Academies Trust Virtual Talent Winner, Zoe Burton with parents Andrew and Galina and dog Fabi  Picture: Ian BurtWest Norfolk Academies Trust Virtual Talent Winner, Zoe Burton with parents Andrew and Galina and dog Fabi Picture: Ian Burt

More than 100 students sent their virtual entries showcasing dancing, singing or playing an instrument.

Organised by the West Norfolk Academies Trust, the show was open to all schools in the area and 120 virtual entries were sent.

Gillian and her sister Kim, also an actress, had the tough job of choosing the winners and they asked for a runners-up category because the top entries could not be separated.

“The standards were so high that Gillian and Kim asked if we could have three runners-up and we were happy to do so. It was a unique contest as it was open to every school in the area and it showed there is a huge amount of talent coming through,” said executive head teacher Andy Johnson.

The virtual talent contest was judged by Gillian Taylforth  Picture:  Ian West/PAThe virtual talent contest was judged by Gillian Taylforth Picture: Ian West/PA

“Everyone learnt that the show can still go on, even during a pandemic lockdown.”

Students aged from five to 18 submitted their footage and the dance category proved to be the most popular among the area’s rising stars.

It was the musical talent of instrument players Ella Chim, of Springwood High and Zoe Burton, Terrington St Clement Community School, that really caught the judge’s ear and they were the overall winners and received £100 in Amazon vouchers each.

“I’m really glad the judges enjoyed my performance and I hope there are more opportunities like this in the future for aspiring performers to take part in,” said Ella, who plays the piano.

Zoe, aged 11, left her school at the end of last term and is already a Grade 5 standard on the violin and is a member of the Snape Maltings Aldeburgh Young Musicians.

She started playing violin at the age of five and is also at Grade 3 level on the piano, which she only started playing during the lockdown and hopes to be a professional musician when she leaves school.

Ella, 16, who is a pupil at Springwood High School in King’s Lynn, said: “I felt extremely surprised and fortunate to win, as there is a lot of talent in west Norfolk.”

The winner in the singing category was Chantelle Verdad from St Martha’s School, Gaywood; the instrument winner was Jasper Pike from Wisbech Grammar School and the dance category winner was Gabby Eggleton, from Springwood High School in Lynn.

Runners-up were Danny Bailey from Heacham Junior School on instrumental, Ellie Proctor from Heacham Junior School for dance and Niamh Ward from Wisbech Grammar School for singing.


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