THREE talented youngsters have each won themselves a year’s scholarship with a top stage school following auditions in Welwyn Garden City.

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More than 50 children aged between six and 17 attended the X Factor-style auditions at Stanborough School for free Top Hat Stage School places.

Those attending took part in drama, singing and dance workshops while the judges mingled and talent spotted.

After much deliberation, the winners were chosen and Welwyn Hatfield’s deputy mayor, Cllr Helen Bromley, later presented the three lucky children with their awards.

The trio of new stars then took up their places for the first time as the weekly stage school classes began.

Springmead Primary School pupil Joshua Walkey-Morais was the winner in the six to eight years category.

Panshanger School student Ashleigh Speller won a free place to attend Top Hat Stage School for a year in the nine to 11 age group winner, while Robyn Brewster, who attends Stanborough School, won the 12 to 17 section.

The project is supported by Hertfordshire County Council and the scholarships are worth more than £900 each.

Cllr Bromley said: “It was a delight to present the scholarships to the winners and see so many youngsters having such a wonderful time.

“Belonging to such a stage school is a great way of developing a child’s confidence and self-esteem which can then lead to more opportunities.”

Top Hat principal Warren Bacci said: “We ran the scheme as we wanted to find a child who had the passion and the talent for performing, but otherwise couldn’t afford to attend a stage school such as ours.

“It was such a delight to meet so much undiscovered talent in Welwyn Garden City and I look forward to next year.”

The scholarship auditions will run again in 2013 with details available on www.tophatstageschool.co.uk

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