Twenty youngsters prepare for final of Dereham’s Got Talent!

They've been waiting patiently in the wings for weeks – and now comes their big chance to shine on stage.

More than 20 young people from mid-Norfolk will be taking part in the grand final on Friday (June 15) evening of the Dereham's Got Talent! competition.

The contest was organised specifically to involve the under-19 age group in Dereham Festival 2012 and the accompanying Community Festival.

Lots of young hopefuls with all sorts of musical, performance and sporting skills came forward, and a while back they went through a selection process to choose the acts to take part in the climax to the competition.

Lining up to wow an audience at the Memorial Hall and seek the �100 prize will be:

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Aimee Monument (singer); Daniel Good (pianist); Sarah Harrington (pianist and songwriter); Ewan Morgan (breakdancer).

Lisa Anthony and Joanna Brown – Ebony Mill (singers); William Scott (instrumentalist); Joshua Birmingham (singer); Jade, Poppy and Ellie – Trio Star Twirlers (twirlers); Katie and Lisa McArdle (gymnasts); Katie de Silva (singer).

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Joshua Brightwell (dancer); Josh Lee (singer); Megan Norgate (dancer); Bethany Scott (instrumentalist); Madison Palmer and Emily McDonnell (dance duo); and Lizzie Crane (singer).

Three of the judges they will be trying to impress have enjoyed their share of the bright lights.

John Coghlan is the original drummer of Status Quo and brings his present-day band, John Coghlan's Quo, to the town on Saturday to round off the Dereham Festival 2012 programme.

Chris Rankin was the New Zealand-born but locally-raised lad who found fame playing Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter films.

Christine Dix sang with English National Opera for 20 years.

They will be joined on the panel by Melanie Jones, representing the competition sponsors, Norwich & Peterborough Building Society. Compere for the final is another talented youngster: Declan Matwij.

Dereham Festival 2012 chairman Jim Stebbings said the audience could look forward to a tremendous evening that could well prove to be one of the highlights of the whole four weeks of arts and cultural events.

He added: 'We've got a great range of acts: not just singers but instrumentalists, dancers in all manner of styles... everything.

'It is going to be a very exciting, entertaining final, just like a good old variety show.'

For Chris Rankin, who grew up in the Dereham area, went to Northgate High School and performed with Dereham Operatic Society's youth theatre company for a number of years, the event will be very much of a homecoming.

He said this week: 'I'm starting to look forward to being back in Dereham Memorial Hall ... to judge Dereham's Got Talent!

'It's been 10 years since I last trod those boards.'

The final gets under way at 7.30pm, and tickets are �5, available from @thegallery at the Memorial Hall or by calling 07780 769606.

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