A JUNIOR Eurovision Song Contest attracted 20 primary schools and entertained a packed audience of parents and VIP guests.

After long deliberations by an expert panel of judges, Gurney Pease Academy was announced as the winner of the third annual Mayor's Darlington Primary Schools Eurovision Song Contest at the town's Dolphin Centre.

Gurney Pease won the contest with a version of "I Love The Little Things". Each of the 20 schools sang a British Eurovision entry from the past and the winning song was originally sung by Matt Monro in 1964 when it came second.

The Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Jan Taylor, said the contest at the Dolphin Centre, sponsored by Darlington Building Society, had made her feel "extremely proud" of the young people in Darlington.

Reid Street Primary came second, singing Puppet On A String, which was performed by Sandie Shaw in 1967. Abbey Junior School and Harrowgate Hill Primary were joint third. Abbey sang "Love Shine A Light" and Harrowgate Hill performed "Love Will Set You Free".

The event was sponsored for the third time by Darlington Building Society and chief executive Colin Fyfe joined the Mayor on stage to present the trophies and prizes.

Mr Fyfe described the night as "inspirational" and said Darlington Building Society was committed to continuing to support community events.

The judging panel was chaired by Councillor Cyndi Hughes, who leads on children and young people's issues for Darlington Borough Council. Other judges were: Vicky Bates, deputy manager of Durham Music Service; soprano Val MacConachie, and Clare Storey, customer communications officer for Darlington Building Society.

Councillor Hughes said: "The judges had a hard task in choosing the winners because the standard was so incredibly high."

The VIP guests included The Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Sue Snowdon and the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Alasdair MacConachie.

Proceeds from the event went to the Mayor's charities: St Teresa's Hospice, Family Help (Darlington CIO), and projects helping young people with poor mental health.