AN East Lancashire ‘star in the making’ has secured a place at the prestigious National Youth Film Academy.

Ciara Baxendale, 17, from Helmshore, battled it out with tens of thousands of young people, aged between 16 and 25, for a chance to train as a professional actor.

She is one of the youngest auditionees to be awarded a place at the academy, in Manchester, and has been attending Blackburn’s performing arts school Little Voices for five years.

Managing Director Jane Maudsley said: “I am incredibly proud of Ciara's success, especially as she was one of Little Voices first pupils in 2007.

“She is definitely a star in the making.

"I am delighted that Ciara has shown such initiative, auditioned and been so successful. She will go very far as a performer."

Former Westholme School pupil Ciara, lives in Helmshore Road, Helmshore, with her dad Simon, 48, mum Angela, 52, sisters Niamh, 20 and Orla, 12, and brother Rowan, 18.

Ciara who had to perform a two minute monologue in front of two judges as part of her audition, is currently working towards her Grade 8 Musical Theatre examination.

She said: “The audition went really well and I was lucky as I had no nerves. The 10-day course will begin in Easter, where we will make a short film which will then be shown to a variety of names in the industry.

“Hopefully, after all the directors and producers watch the video, more work will become available.”

Ciara’s dad Simon Baxendale said: “Ciara really deserves this as she has worked really hard to get where she is.

“The whole family is very proud of her.”

This Christmas Ciara will be performing alongside Rossendale’s most famous actress Jane Horrocks.

The teenager will be appearing alongside the Absolutely Fabulous star in the festive comedy 'Little Crackers' on Sky TV between Christmas and New Year.