Charity challenge such a Revelation

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LANCASTER dance gymnastics group Revelation took one of the top prizes in the Furness Charity Challenge North West talent competition final at the Lancaster Grand Theatre on Saturday.

In total more than £3,000 was handed out in prizes to the 11 finalists competing on behalf of charities in the competition organised by Furness Building Society to spotlight the work of local charities and encourage people to get involved.

Revelation, a team of 14 girls aged between eight and 20 which is part of City of Lancaster Gymnastics, received a cheque for £500 for their nominated charity – Daisy UK, a charity supporting Disability Awareness in Sport.

Their coach Melissa Gardner praised the dedication and hard work of her group, and the competition itself.

She said: “It has been a fantastic night and the girls really enjoyed performing in such a beautiful venue.

“They are often involved in competitions, but not in venues like this – and we are delighted to have won the money for Daisy UK which does great work for disabled sport.”

Revelation brought a strong following in the audience, leading the cheers and applause as the group went through their breathless routine which included human pyramids. daring lifts and members of the group being tossed high in the air.

Other top prizes also went to Lancashire talent, including high praise from the judges for other acts most notably consultant oncologist Alison Birtle who works at Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Alison took to the Charity Challenge stage at the last minute on behalf of Rosemere Cancer Foundation, after another finalist pulled out through ill-health.

Alison enchanted the audience with Someone Like You from the hit musical Jekyll and Hyde, and as a finalist automatically received £100 for Rosemere, which provides support for cancer services in South Lakes and Lancashire.

Furness Building Society chief executive Nigel Quinton, who led the judges, said: “It was a fantastic show and the standard of all the performances was amazingly high.

“It is wonderful that so many talented people are willing to stand up and do something for their chosen charity – but it certainly made our job as judges very difficult.”

His views were echoed by Bay Radio presenter Darren Milby, another of the judges.

Darren added: “I helped judge the competition last year and the quality just keeps getting better.

“There were some terrific performances tonight and any of them would have made a worthy winner.”

There was also a guest spot for last year’s winner of the competition, 14-years old Amy-Jo Clough, who represented the Ryan Stanford Appeal in 2011.

She dedicated her performance to Ryan and to Ian Bell from Furness Building Society, who originally conceived the Charity Challenge competition and who tragically died last year.