St Albans’ Got Talent winner Damien Winchester has handed over £3,000 to the City’s new Museum and Art Gallery project.
He presented a cheque after enjoying one of his prizes – the chance to sing in front of more than 16,000 people at the St Albans Christmas lights switch-on.
The money was raised at the Grand Final of the contest, held at the Alban Arena on Halloween night.
Damien beat 10 other hopefuls with his rendition of Hold Me in Your Heart from Cindy Lauper’s West End musical, Kinky Boots.
The performance arts student gave up his career as a veterinary nurse to pursue his showbiz ambitions.
He sang four songs, including hits by Michael Jackson and Rick Astley, as he helped with the St Peter’s Street Christmas lights extravaganza on Sunday 27 November.
He was joined by talent show organiser SuZe Camastra; one of the judges, TV presenter Karen Wichalls-Plunkett, and two of the finalists, Roxy Parkins and Holly Graham.
After his performance, Damien handed over the cheque to St Albans Museums and Galleries Trustee, Councillor Annie Brewster.
All proceeds from the final went to the scheme to convert the Town Hall into a spectacular £7.75 million cultural centre.
SuZe, the founder, director and producer of St Albans’ Got Talent, said: “I am thrilled that we helped this wonderful project. It will greatly enhance the artistic life of St Albans that our talent contest also tries to promote.
“The final was a fantastic occasion and gave many young people from around the District the opportunity to perform in our City theatre and show how talented they are.”
Cllr Annie Brewster, who is also Portfolio Holder for Sport, Leisure and Heritage for St Albans City and District Council, said: “My thanks go to SuZe and everyone involved with St Albans’ Got Talent – the organisers, the performers and the audiences who supported the entire event. Thank you too to Parish Councils, local community organisations, schools and theatres who made over 25 venues available for the qualifying rounds.
The final was very close and everyone improved round by round. To raise such a substantial amount of money for the new City Museum and Art Gallery project is a complete bonus.”
In the talent contest, street dance group Monocracy were runners up to Damien with singer Holly Graham in third place.
Warren Bacci of the Top Talent Agency said: “There was so much talent on the night and it was very difficult for us to choose. Damien is such a great singer, but there were so many deserved winners this year.”