SINGING sensation Ella Shaw has seen first-hand how East Lancashire's next generation of entertainers are flourishing.

The Britain's Got Talent semi-finalist was one of the judges at the inaugural Blackburn and Darwen School Games dance festival.

And with her fellow panellists she was able to witness a dazzling dance-off between Our Lady and St John's and St Wilfrid's CE Academy.

St Wilfrid's was first up, performing a piece based around diversity, focusing on how some may feel the need to comply with the norm, featuring the dancers following closely in each other's footsteps, before the performers 'fought back' with faster and more expressive moves.

Our Lady and St John's offering was 'Hideaway', a number from the film Wonder, where pupils explored acceptance in society and sometimes the need to hide away.

Earlier pupils from St Mary and St Joseph's RC Primary had got the ball rolling with a colourful ensemble effort, based on Bhangra beats.

And for the interval, while the judges determined the overall winner, Rebecca Clark, from St Wilfrid's, took on a lyrical dance solo, followed by an Our Lady's trio, delivering May The Odds Be In Your Favour from the Hunger Games movie.

Ella was joined by St Mary and St Joseph's headteacher Andrea Thomson and Andrew Mercer, the Blackburn and Darwen School Games organiser, to select the winner, based on choreography, performance skill and overall impact.

And by a very fine margin, their pick was St Wilfrid's, qualifying now for the Spar Lancashire School Games finals in May, alongside a St Mary and St Joseph's team.

Mr Mercer later thanked Our Lady and St John's for hosting the gathering and Ella Shaw, who now has her own performing arts academy, for agreeing to be a judge.

He added: " I would like to wish both St Wilfrid’s and St Mary and St Joseph's the best of luck on May 1. I'm sure they will enjoy the experience.

"We look forward to putting on a bigger and better event in Blackburn and Darwen in 2020."