The 114th Wensleydale Tournament of Music and Speech took place between March 11 and 19 at Leyburn Methodist Hall, and at Tennants Garden Room on March 20, and was thoroughly enjoyed by both competitors and audience alike.

This fun and friendly competition gives amateur performers of all ages a chance to share their skills. This year the age groups ranged from six to 90.

For the children it is “a valuable opportunity to learn life skills which will stand them in good stead throughout their lives”, said this year’s speech adjudicator, Rebecca Vines.

The adult speech classes were well attended with many much-loved repeat entrants, as well as newcomers from Manchester, Nottinghamshire and Lancaster. The Swaledale Cup was awarded to Dyno Keatinge, whose hilarious readings on the daily life of his youngest dog, Magnus, won him the highest mark.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Magnus Keatinge

Junior speech classes were well supported by Mowbray, Aysgarth and Leyburn primary schools, as well as a number of individual competitors, and organisers said they are grateful to all the children and teachers for the hard work, time and effort that went into learning their lines – not to mention their bravery in standing up in front of a full house.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Dyno Keatinge receiving the Swaledale Cup from Rebecca Vines

The junior music classes were adjudicated by Nancy Litten. This year there were pianists, percussionists, guitarists (both electric and acoustic), saxophone, violin and singers. All the performers showed amazing talent, particularly Jonty Ledbetter who won all his classes.

Jacky Wilson, tournament secretary, said: "Special thanks must go to Colin Bailey of Blueboxt Creative and Performing Arts and Debbie Allenby for their encouragement and excellent teaching."

The Tennants Choir Day saw a full house, with representatives from Spennithorne and Middleham, Masham, BAWB, Mowbray and South Kilvington primary schools. "This day out is a high point of the year for the children and a source of great joy for all supporters of the tournament," said Ms Wilson.

"Due to our unusual mid-week slot, there were fewer adult choirs able to attend, however the East Witton Male Voice Choir, who have been competing at the tournament for many years, started the evening off with two joyful songs.

"We were also able to enjoy the wonderful harmonies of the Dales Community Pop Choir and the debut performance of Light My Choir, who certainly deserved to receive the Thwaites Award for most promising choir.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Light My Choir, who received the Thwaites Award for most promising choir

"The evening was rounded out by equally professional performances from Elizabeth Sowter and Jacqueline Simper on piano, Barry Hughes on accordion, and singers Liz Byrne and Ken Dalton."

Organisers have thanked volunteers and local businesses for their support, and all the organisations who generously donated towards the school transport fund, enabling the tournament to pay 50 per cent of schools' transport costs to and from the event. All the entrants were all thanked for their hard work, and giving up their time to compete.



The Joan Cairns Memorial Cup for Class 109, Humorous Verse, Dyno Keatinge

The Swaledale Cup for the highest mark in Solo Speech Classes, jointly, Dyno Keatinge and Richard Barter


The Mary Gore and Fred Clarkson Book Tokens for class five, poem year four, John and Jemima Walker of Mowbray School

Darlington and Stockton Times: John and Jemima Walker, of Mowbray School, received the Mary Gore & Fred Clarkson book tokens from Linda Dent

The Dorothy Wilmott Award for class four, poem year three, Hettienne Tweddle of Aysgarth School

The H.A.O.S. John Cockett Memorial Trophy for class seven, poem year six, Holly Manock

The Miss Ruth Harrison Challenge Cup for Sight Reading classes, Jessica Asher

Gervase Phinn Poetry book for class 89, Jessica Asher.

The Sue Williamson Trophy for class 56, poem own composition, Nina Wilmington

Darlington and Stockton Times: Ramona Webb, Nina Wilmington and Jessica Asher in Own Composition Poem classes. Nina won the Sue Williamson Trophy

The Mary Palmer Cup for Bible Readingc Taya Hunter of Leyburn Primary School

The Margery Freeman Memorial Bursaries were awarded, at the adjudicator’s recommendation, to Aysgarth School, Leyburn Primary School and Mowbray School


The Lucien Orde-Powlett Cup, for the highest mark in Senior Solo Music Classes, jointly, Liz Byrne and Elizabeth Sowter

The Yeoman Rose Bowl, for Light Operatic Solo Voice, Liz Byrne

The Dr. and Mrs. Adamson Trophy, for Men's Solo Voice, Ken Dalton

The Lady Wilson Todd Cup, for the choir gaining the highest mark, Dales Community Pop Choir

The Thwaites Award, for the most promising choir at the adjudicator’s recommendation, Light My Choir

The President’s Plate, awarded by Val Nelson, went to Aysgarth School


The Wendy Thompson Challenge Cup, for piano solo 14 years and under, Sam Anderson

The Eileen Hankinson Memorial Trophy, for Instrumental Solo Strings, Jeremy Ledbetter

Darlington and Stockton Times: Jonty and Jeremy Ledbetter performing their own composition

The Topham Silver Challenge Cup for Class 203, action song, years two, three and four, BAWB Federation

The Richmond Plate for Class 200, Unison Song, years five and six, BAWB Federation

The Diana Hartley Award for the most promising young musician was awarded, at the adjudicator’s recommendation, to Jonty Ledbetter

The Margery Burrill Challenge Cup for classes 200-202, years five and six, BAWB Federation

The Madge Stephenson Memorial Challenge Cup for classes 213 and 214, traditional folk song, years five and six, BAWB Federation

The Miss Kathleen Sayer Challenge Cup, for an under 12 gaining the highest mark in any one music class, Jeremy Ledbetter

The Mrs. Willan Challenge Cup, for 12 years and over gaining the highest mark in any one music class, Jonty Ledbetter

The Ewen McDougall Cup for a performance in any woodwind class was awarded, at the adjudicator’s recommendation, to Jonty Ledbetter

The Milner & Hallows Cup for a performance in any strings class was awarded, at the adjudicator’s recommendation, to Jonty Ledbetter

The Margery Freeman bursaries, at the adjudicator’s recommendation, were awarded to Dmytro Kryzhanovskyi, Lili Bako and Jeremy Ledbetter

The Mary Gore and Fred Clarkson Memorial Bursary for the most promising school choir was awarded, at the adjudicator’s recommendation, to years five and six, BAWB Federation