TALENTED pupils from 19 Darlington primary schools sang classics from musical theatre to entertain a packed audience in an annual song contest.

And St Bede’s RC Primary School stole the show with a brilliant performance of “You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two” from the musical Oliver.

With standards so high in the Mayor’s Darlington Primary Schools Musical Theatre Song Contest, judges had a Dickens of a job choosing the winner.

But a combination of strong vocals, well-executed choreography, impressive acting ability, and creative costumes led to St Bede’s being announced as the winners.

Reid Street Primary School were runners-up with “Let’s Hear It For The Boys”, from Footloose, and St Augustine’s RC Primary School came third with “The Wall In My Head” from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

The competition – staged at the Dolphin Centre – has been held for five years since being launched by the then Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Tom Nutt.

This year’s Mayor, Councillor Nick Wallis, presented the prizes, and a raffle raised £365 for his chosen charities, The Darlington Food Banks and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Other VIP guests included The Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Sue Snowdon, the leader of Darlington Borough Council, Councillor Heather Scott, and the Mayor of Sunderland, David Snowdon.

Lucy Derbyshire, Year 6 teacher at St Bede’s, said: “The children have worked incredibly hard and put every ounce of effort into this so it’s fantastic to win. We’re so proud of them.”

Jay Thurston, 11, who played The Artful Dodger, said: “I’m lost for words. It all went by in a blur, so I was really surprised but delighted when we were announced as the winners. It was disappointing not to get into the first three last year but this more than makes up for it.”

As part of their prize, St Bede's will perform the winning song at Darlington Community Carnival and The Mayor's Ball.

Other schools taking part: Federation of Mowden Schools, Firthmoor, Mount Pleasant, Federation of Abbey Schools, Heathfield, Gurney Pease, Springfield Academy, Harrowgate Hill,  High Coniscliffe, West Park Academy, Skerne Park Academy, St Teresa’s, St John’s, Red Hall, St George’s, Hurworth.