Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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X-Factor finalist pops into Cumbrian school to sing for pupils

It's not everyday a pop star visits your school... but children won a “money can’t buy” prize to have X-Factor finalist Sophie Habibis sing on the last day of term.

Sophie Habibis photo
Sophie Habibis

Youngsters at Richmond Hill School in Aspatria took part in a business competition called Cumbria’s Rising Stars – and won the top prize. Sophie was in last year’s X-Factor competition and finished in 10th place. She had to perform in a final showdown against Misha B but lost out in week four of the final.

But now the hip Londoner spends her time writing new songs, working on an album and performing at impromptu venues.

In the school hall yesterday kids waved flags, clapped and sang along as Sophie belted out five tunes including You Got The Love by The Source and Candi Staton and Valerie by Amy Winehouse.

After her performance, there was time for a question and answer session before a tour of all the classrooms – and a few autographs too.

Cumbria’s Rising Stars competition was run by the Centre for Leadership Performance and CFM Radio. Participating schools were given £50 and given eight weeks to make it grow. The school that made the most money won. Richmond Hill Primary School, which has 190 pupils, made £1,190.50p by holding a giant cake and craft sale. Netherhall School in Maryport was the best secondary school. Twenty three schools took part.

Rachel Blair, acting headteacher, said: “This is an amazing day for our school and I am so proud. They’ve done so well to win this competition and they are so excited to meet Sophie. We had a big bake off and got local chef Annette Gibbons to judge. It was so well supported and the parents did themselves proud.”

The children asked Sophie how famous she was. The former barmaid, from London, said: “I don’t like to use the word famous because I’m just like all of you.”

Louise Gardham, business manager for the Centre for Leadership Performance, based at Energus at Lillyhall near Workington, said: “We do a range of work like master classes in key areas and we’ve recently been focusing on growth. At the same time we were wondering how we could expand our work to including working with children to help raise aspirations and develop skills.

“The CLP has funded the competition and CFM managed it.

“The aim was for the schools to grow their £50 as much as possible in very much an Apprentice-style way. It was so the children could show off their leadership skills and work as teams.

“We often work with small to medium size business and we want to work more with young people as we want to retain the talent we have in Cumbria.”

The school raised a total of £1,190.50p and handed over a cheque to the CFM charity Cash for Kids.

Robbie Dee, presenter and DJ at CFM, told the kids: “This is a money-can’t-buy prize, a one-off and it’s happening here at your school.”


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