And it proved to be a poignant 10th birthday party for Grab and the Grand’s co-founder, Steven Lancaster, who saw his 15-year-old daughter Erin play a starring role in Six.
“Grab has been a blessing for us and I’m a super proud dad to see Erin in the winning act,” said Steven after seeing Six win Grab, the Ribble Valley inter-school talent contest.
Six, all pals from Bowland High School, brought the house down with their slick dancing and singing routine from the West End musical of the same name. It was a triumph for the singing sextet – sisters Hazel and Ginny Thompson, Kiera Twizell, Erin Lancaster, Evie Mitchell and Lizzy Thomson. They took to the Grand stage to tell the medieval tale of the Six Wives of Henry VIII in a sensational celebration of 21st Century girl power. “We only did Six for a bit of fun, we never thought we’d get to the final,” said 16-year-old Kiera Twizell. “It is just beyond words to have won the Grab title.”
Hazel Thompson, also 16, said: “We all have the same interests, singing dancing and the arts, and we only got together a few months ago. We are great friends, but we are also really tough on each other and our worst critics.”
Chief judge Ella Shaw told the girls: “You had so much presence and confidence, you had the audience in the palm of your hands.”
Magician Jasper Cherry (13), from Ribblesdale High School, who wowed the enthusiastic sell-out crowd with his jaw-dropping card tricks, was the Grab runner-up. Jasper reached the final of Grab in 2018 and Grab judge and professional actor Bonnie Anne praised Jasper, whose hero is the magician Dynamo. She said: “Magic is very hard to perform, to do it so confidently in front of a big crowd was absolutely brilliant. You are a very talented young man.”
There was a hush in the theatre when 11-year-old Saanvi Reddy, who claimed third place, delivered her beautiful violin masterclass. Saanvi, from Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, said: “I have been playing violin since I was five years old.”
And it proved to be a hectic weekend for singer and guitarist Joel Taylor who collected fourth place. Joel, who attends Bowland High School, performed at the Open Mic UK competition at London’s 02 Arena 24 hours after his appearance at Grab. “I’ve been playing guitar for four years,” he said. “I love to make people feel like they connect with my music.”
The audience also saw a screening of a very moving film showing how the Grand’s Solomon Project charity is saving lives in Africa. This year Grab supported Nightsafe, a charity supporting young homeless people in Blackburn, plus The Climate Coalition, dedicated to help create a cleaner, greener future for the world.
Harry Lee, the young person’s ambassador for Nightsafe, said: “We were overwhelmed by donations from the people of Lancashire over Christmas, helping thousands of youngsters find shelter. We want to thank every single person who contributed and also to the Grand for their very generous support of Nightsafe.”
Steven Lancaster, The Grand’s director, added: “We’ve celebrated a decade of Ribble Valley talent through Grab, from Bowland High School, St Augustine’s RC High School in Billington, Ribblesdale High School and Clitheroe Royal Grammar School. Every year they raise the bar higher, but most of all to see that sense of friendship between the competitors is incredibly uplifting. The young people who have performed at Grab over the last 10 years, and we’ve seen some amazing talent, have proved a credit to themselves, their families and schools.”
Steven added: “I would like to thank our main sponsor of Grab 2020, CCLA Good Investment, Grab’s Youth Forum team and also a special thank-you to the Grand’s Creative Learning Co-Ordinator Ivana Douglas who worked so hard on delivering the project.”