The winners of the first annual Mouth Cancer Voice Awards have been announced following a live performance in London.
Kirsty Nichol, 17, from Hampshire won the performance for the Best Singer and James Quaife, 22 from London won the performance for the Best Comedian in front of a star-studded audience at the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre.
The Mouth Cancer Voice Awards is the idea of the Mouth Cancer Foundation, and is aimed at young people and students, encouraging them not to take their voices for granted. Every three hours someone will die from mouth cancer. The cancer can occur in any part of the mouth, tongue, lips, throat, salivary glands, pharynx, larynx, sinus, and other sites located in the head and neck area. In its very early stages, mouth cancer can be almost invisible making it easy to ignore.
The Voice Awards celebrated the most talented, brightest young singing and comedy stars in the country. Students entered into two categories – singers and comedians – and were then voted for by the public. Twelve finalists performed live at the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre in front of a live studio audience and a celebrity-packed panel of judges.
The standard in the singing competition was extremely high. Kirsty, from Farnborough, said: ‘My ambition for the future is to become a singer. I am absolutely ecstatic that I won’. Kirsty has won a day’s studio recording to record one song, courtesy of Insomnia Music Ltd.
James won a 10-minute spot, courtesy of Comedy Club Ltd, at a top Comedy Club Venue in the UK. He is a comedian and currently studying for an MA in Directing at St. Mary’s in Twickenham, and said: ‘I was really pleased to make it to the final as I feel I’m giving something back to a cause really close to my heart. My mum sadly passed away in August 2006, she originally had bowel cancer, which then developed in other parts of her body. This event raises awareness of cancer which is so important. To have won is just amazing.’
The event was supported by pop star and former Atomic Kitten band member Natasha Hamilton, who said: ‘Mouth Cancer is a disease that has affected my family as it is how my Nan died. The Mouth Cancer Voice Awards raise awareness to mouth cancer especially in the student world, and have launched a competition for the UK’s best student singer or comedian, which is a great way to have fun and draw attention to this little known, but deadly disease.’
Natasha was not the only celebrity supporting the awards. Rock band Koopa, BBC television presenter Julia Bradbury, lead West-End theatre star Julie Atherton and actress and comedian Helen Lederer made up the celebrity panel.
Mouth Cancer Foundation founder Dr Vinod Joshi said: ‘Everyone on the panel was stunned and amazed at the extremely high standard of everyone who took part. This is the first year of the event and the talent on stage was very impressive. I believe we have discovered some names who will be around for many years to come.’