Our search is on for a rising star

FLASHBACK ... last year's winner Lily Brooke.
FLASHBACK ... last year's winner Lily Brooke.

IT’S BACK! The Best of South Tyneside Young Performer competition is under way for 2015 and we want to hear from the finest rising stars in the area.

What a fantastic record we have for producing top talent – and we want to keep it going.

It was nice to win with my own work because it says more about who I am and what I want to achieve.

Lily Brooke

The category, sponsored by Port of Tyne, is once again searching for outstanding young contestants to follow in the footsteps of previous winners including X Factor champions Joe McElderry and Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall.

Our finalists will get to perform at the Customs House in South Shields on Monday, April 27.

Three contestants from the night will be shortlisted and will perform again at the finale of the Pride of South Tyneside awards ceremony at the Quality Hotel, in Boldon, on Thursday, June 12.

They will hope to achieve the same success as Lily Brooke, then 16, who lifted the title last year after performing her original song, Counting Numbers.

Lily, now 17, told us: “It was an absolute honour to win and I was shocked when I did.

“I was sitting at my table when they called out my name and then I realised it was my name they called.”

Lily was “delighted” that she won with one of her own songs.

She said: “I was quite worried about whether to do an original piece or a cover, so it was nice to win with my own work because it says more about who I am and what I want to achieve.”

Lily is enjoying great success since her win. She has a gig at The Sage Gateshead on April 19, supporting Duke Special.

She also appeared at a gig in Bents Park in July last year, on the same bill as former X Factor winner Shayne Ward and Irish girlband B*Witched.

It’s all adding to a great CV, and Lily urged other rising talents to follow in her footsteps and enter this year’s Port of Tyne-sponsored Young Performer competition.

Susan Wear, Port of Tyne director of corporate affairs, said: “These awards help to recognise what makes South Tyneside a special place to live, work and do business.

“The Port has supported the awards since the very beginning and is once again delighted to support the Young Performer category,.

“It has been a launchpad for some of the UK’s leading performers including Joe McElderry, Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall and Lola Saunders.”

Now all we need is lots of entrants to make this year’s Young Performer category, sponsored by Port of Tyne, another memorable competition.

We are looking for an individual or group who has shown exceptional talent as a performer.

To enter, fill in the nomination form in today’s paper or do it online HERE.