JUDGES were overwhelmed by the confidence shown during excellent performances at Carlisle and District Music and Drama Festival.

They were impressed with the under-sixes in the solo verse, reciting poems such as There Are Big Waves and The Joy of Socks.

They had to recite poems to a church full of people while showing off their confidence. The children marched up to the front of the room one by one ready to show the judges what they could do.

Catherine Fullerton, year one teacher at St Bedes Roman Catholic School in Carlisle, said: “It was fabulous. We’re so thrilled to be here. Since we’ve worked on the performance the children just want to practice more and more.”

Taking first place was Olivia Armstrong-Clarke, Austin Friars in Carlisle, while second spot went to Ariana Bennett, five, from St Bedes.

She said: “I feel happy coming second. I wasn’t scared. I was happy talking in front of everybody.”

Mrs Fullerton added: “Ariana is a July baby, one of the youngest in the class.

“She was brilliant and two children who didn’t think they would be able to preform today pulled it off. I’m very proud.”

Debbie Maper-Gibson, of Imagination Dance and Drama, took students from Bishop Yard School of Dance in Penrith.

She said: “ Its been scary. I’m probably more scared than the children, but I will not admit to it. It’s so good for their confidence. Learning the poems and taking drama exams is a lot, but they love to do it.”

Ali Tothunter, a teaching assistant at St Bedes, added: “They have worked so hard putting in all the time and effort. They just want to please everybody.”