East Sussex really does have talent


HE’S just 11-years-old, but cute Carl Parsons lit up the stage as one of the winners of the East Sussex Talent Gala Finale.

The Eastbourne youngster sang his heart out with a rendition of Celine Dion’s classic “My Heart Will Go On”, made famous from the Hollywood blockbuster “Titanic”.

Carl was among a veritable sea of talent as Eastbourne and Hastings’ most gifted singers, dancers and comedians came together at the White Rock Theatre in Hastings to take part in the big one – the last and most prestigious of this year’s local talent shows.

Having previously made their mark in either this summer’s Eastbourne or Hastings talent shows, Friday evening’s performers were the crème de la crème of East Sussex talent.

Carl, who was a heat winner at Eastbourne last May in the under-13s category, captured the youngest category.

Thirteen-year-old Abbie Jones from Hastings, who secured her home town heat in the under-13s age group, won the singer/songwriter prize with a performance of the song “December”, which she wrote herself.

And 17-year-old Chloe Sanders, who lives in Eastbourne and was a heat winner in the over-14s age group, won this senior category in Hastings with her performance of Roberta Flack’s chilling “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”.

All received a crystal winner’s trophy and will enjoy a four-hour recording session at Appleyard Studio in Robertsbridge, courtesy of professional musician, studio owner and competition judge Jeff Topp.

The winners were also presented with the latest Nikon digital cameras, generously donated on behalf of Asda in Hastings by store manager Les Starling and presented by Nicky Demeza.

Winners also received two tickets to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the White Rock Theatre, starring Sid Owen which runs from December 10-31.

In addition to the competition, a one-year scholarship to Mad Fish Singing Studio was awarded to eight-year-old Emily Carey by Mad Fish Studio owner and musician Emma Burnett.

A total of 21 acts took part in the show, compered by stage and screen actor Jonathan Linsley and which got off to an energetic start with a performance by the Sussex Sparks Cheer squad.

Once all acts had performed, the show’s judging panel decided on a shortlist. The audience then voted for their favourite act using credit card-sized Clikapads supplied by PPVote, suppliers of PowerPoint-based interactive keypad technology, and one of the show’s main sponsors.

JP South Events and the Observer Group of Newspapers organised the event, which was run by Faiza Shafeek. She said, “I would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support.

“Most of all, I’d like to thank them for believing in these talent shows and making them the incredible successes they have been this year.”

Sponsors were: Mad Fish Singing Studio, Priory Meadow, Appleyard Studio, Coffee Republic, PPVote, the Enterprise Centre Eastbourne, Showman Audio Visual and the White Rock Theatre.

The judges included Emma Burnett, owner of Mad Fish Singing Studio; Jeff Topp, Owner of Appleyard Studio, plus piano entertainer and cabaret artist Will Bailey,