Burnley's own cricketing legend among host of stars backing town's talent show to raise funds for NHS
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Burnley's Got Talent, which less than a week ago was just an idea between two pals, launches on Saturday with 47 contestants and almost 4,000 members on social media.
And to date the magnificent sum of £1,327 has been raised.
Good luck messages have also been sent from Alastair Campbell, a well known Clarets fan and former press secretary to Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair who even serenaded Burnley folk by playing the bagpipes, legendary DJ Judge Jules, former Burnley FC player Andy Payton, Lancashire and England cricketer Alex Hartley and Celebrity Big Brother star Keiran Lee who lives in Burnley.
The contest was the idea of friends Shelly Heap and Justine Lorriman who had to call off their annual Good Friday charity pub crawl due to Covid 19.
Keen to still do something to unite the town and raise funds, Shelly came up with the idea of a talent show. She was inspired by the positive response to karaoke style videos she posted of herself singing her favourite songs online prompting dozens more to follow suit.
In less than 24 hours the contest had its own page on facebook with 17 entries and £270 in donations raised towards its £1,000 target!
Shelly, who is the bar manager at Lowerhouse Cricker Club, said: "The response has been absolutely amazing.
"This is about getting people together, having fun during a really difficult time and also helping the NHS.
"Everyone has been so generous and we would ask that they come to the page, watch the acts and make a donation as every single penny donated is going to the fund."
The winner will receive £200 prize money donated by Shelly, Royal Dyche landlady Justine, Liam Kilbride of LPK Facilities Managemen and DJ Kev Riley who also gave £50 to help pay for anyone struggling financially who wanted to enter.
The organisers of Burnley Live, a day two family festival featuring a host of bands, live acts and entertainment, have also invited the winner to perform on stage.
Each contestant pays a £5 fee that goes directly to a justgiving page Shelly and Justine have set up for the East Lancashire NHS Trust.
To kickstart the competition Kev donated another £50 to help pay the entry fee for anyone struggling financially who wanted to take part.
The competition officially starts on Saturday evening when contestants will be asked to upload their videos to the Burnley's Got Talent facebook page.
The 20 with the most 'likes' by the following Tuesday at 10pm will go through to the next round followed by the top 10 in the third round and the top five in the final.
Shelly said: "People can also donate to the just giving page just for joining in and being in the audience and enjoying the entertainment during the lockdown."
Anyone who would like more information is asked to go to the Burnley's Got Talent facebook page.