SIXTEEN-year-old performing arts student Jemma Drake is a real gem, who shone in the speech and drama classes at Burnley Festival.

Jemma, who lives in Greenbrook Road, Lowerhouse, Burnley, was chosen to represent Burnley as a nominee for the Federation of Festivals' Millennium Festival in Leeds in November.

She will be joined by an entrant chosen from music classes which are to take place at St Peter's Church and school and at Burnley Mechanics this coming weekend.

Jemma attends Accrington and Rossendale College and is a member of the BASICS theatre group in Burnley and attends the Val Norris speech and drama school in Brierfield.

She has been entering Burnley Festival since she was seven and also competes at Blackburn and Colne festivals.

She enjoyed a number of successes in the speech and drama section of the Burnley Festival at the weekend but was chosen as millennium festival nominee for her favourite poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen. She said: "I like war poems and I think they have a message which should be said." Adam Pimblett of Sedburgh won the Fenton Award in the Shakespeare classes and will return for the festival concert on Saturday.

Festival general secretary Peter Jelley said entries were 100 up on last year and that the music section next weekend was also well up on recent years.

He added: "People can come along and hear the best music instrumentalists and vocalists in the north and sit in all day for just £1."

Pictured: Youngsters show off their trophies after successfully competing. Front (left to right) Adam Pimblett, 10, from Nelson, with his trophy for winning the Shakespeare under 12 section; Roseanna Leathley, aged eight, from Reedley, winner of the acting solo section. Back, Heather Pimblett,14, from Nelson, winner of the 12-15 years Shakespeare section; Adam Leach, aged 14, from Burnley, winner of the up to 16 years solo comedy section.

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