STUDENTS from Malton School, Norton College and Lady Lumley’s School, Pickering, are going head to head this Friday in a talent contest in aid of local charity Acorn Community Care.

A total of 15 acts will battle it out in Malton’s Milton Rooms, at 7pm, to raise money for the Norton-based charity, which supports adults with learning difficulties.

Bands, singers, dancers and comedians will take to the stage for the event, which is being sponsored by the Gazette & Herald. The show will be opened by last year’s winner, magician Matt Woollens.

Organised by Di Keal, the event is being held for a second year following the huge success of last year’s Malton and Norton’s Got Talent.

Di said she was running Ryedale's Got Talent again because so many of the students who took part last year - and their parents - asked if it could go ahead again as it is such a great opportunity for the young people to showcase their talent to a wider audience.

"We have some amazing talented young people in our schools in Ryedale who are a credit to their schools, families and the district - I 'm sure that they will all have a lot of fun on the night and that is what the show is all about," she added.

"It also gives students who don't want to appear on stage an opportunity to practice other skills and I am very grateful to the team at Norton College who are operating the lights and sound again and to the senior students who have been involved in running auditions and planning the day for their competing acts."

Di said: "The senior student team from the participating schools chose Acorn Community Care to support because as the money raised will go towards the expansion of the facilities at Whinflower Hall to help support more individuals, they felt they would be raising money for a specific and very worthwhile project that is local to them.

"Many of the students who were involved in the selection process had also never heard of Acorn and felt that it was a great charity that more people should know about and support."

Di said the students taking part would have a great time - they have the opportunity to have a make-over before they go on stage courtesy of No 1 Health & Beauty and Boom Hair Design and would have a very supportive audience cheering them on.

"We are also delighted to announced that talented local singer and Ryedale Youth Theatre stalwart, Leo Rowell will be compering on the evening," she added.

"We haven't managed to lure Simon Cowell to Malton - some people may be pleased to hear - but we have got West End star Scott Garnham and BBC Radio York's Neil Foster on our panel of judges."

Jo Kelly, editor of the Gazette & Herald, said the newspaper was delighted to be sponsoring Ryedale's Got Talent.

"As the local newspaper for Ryedale are aim is to support and encourage the many activities that take place within our community," she added.

"Events such as this demonstrate what a vibrant place Ryedale is and we are delighted to be helping to showcase the fantastic young talent we have here."

Tickets are still available from the participating schools, No1 Health & Beauty and Television House and Reeds Newsagents in Pickering and will be available on the door. It looks set to be another great night of entertainment.