Whithorn lose choir crown to Palnackie

Palnackie Primary School was crowned the winner of the 2013 Xmas Factor Primary Schools Carol Competition at Gretna Gateway Outlet Village on Sunday.

The contest, which is run by Gretna Gateway and West Sound Radio, attracted hundreds of spectators who turned up to see five of the region’s Primary Schools compete for a special Xmas Factor trophy and a cheque for £500.

The Xmas Factor aims to find the best carol-singing Primary School in Dumfries and Galloway and this year Palnackie Primary plus Whithorn, Eaglesfield, Kelloholm and Sanquhar Primaries made it through to the Final following a public poll which saw over 14,000 votes cast.

Sunday’s event was judged by Lisa McNab from Gretna Gateway, Tommy Jardine, host of West Sound’s Breakfast Show plus two of Dumfries and Galloway’s top musical talents, Emily Smith and Nicky Spence. Emily is a leading artist in the contemporary folk scene and is marking her tenth anniversary as a folk singer. Nicky is one of the country’s finest young tenors and recently returned from New York where he made his debut at the City’s Metropolitan Opera.

Palnackie impressed the judges with their beautiful rendition of Ding Dong Merrily on High.

Head Judge, Nicky Spence said: “All of the finalists were extremely accomplished, making this year’s Final very difficult to judge, however we felt that Palnackie’s performance, which involved the whole school, just had the edge on the day. We have some incredibly talented children and teachers in Dumfries and Galloway and it was a real pleasure to hear all of the choirs sing.”

Lisa McNab from Gretna Gateway, who organises the competition, said; “This is the fifth year we have run the Xmas Factor competition and once again, we have been extremely impressed with the quality of the entries and with the hard work and enthusiasm of the schools who took part. Their efforts resulted in some really heart-warming performances that encapsulated the true spirit of Christmas and have provided great enjoyment to thousands of people. We’d like to thank all of the schools that entered, particularly their hard-working teachers, as well as the spectators who came along to watch and support the schools - and to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.”