Ipswich: The talent shines through

IPSWICH: Builder Simon Chiverton is basking in success today after winning the Ipswich Has Got Talent competition with a song dedicated to his late dad.

The 30-year-old wowed the Regent audience and won over the judges with his poignant rendition of the Luther Vandross song Dance With My Father.

Unknown to many in the theatre, it was 14 years ago that his father John, tragically died following a massive heart attack at the age of 46.

Then just in his teens, Simon had picked up the talents of his beloved father, a guitarist/singer in a four-piece country and western band Tequila Sunrise, which put him on the road to winning the contest.

After being named the winner, the dad-of-two who sings with five-piece band The Beavers, paid tribute to the other 13 contestants who made the final a night to remember.

Simon, who is currently working for building and civil engineering company Murphy on the new footbridge at Ipswich Railway Station, said: “I was amazed to hear my name called out as the winner especially as everyone who took part was absolutely fantastic. I always wanted to be a part of my father’s band and to be on stage with him, but after he died I realised I would have to do it on my own.

“I’m sure he would have been proud of me. I felt he was there watching from upstairs anyway.

Most Read

“I was dumbfounded to have won and it means a hell of a lot to me. It was a chance to give something back to him.”

Simon’s prize was �500 and a promotional pack, although he said the confidence boost from appearing on stage in the X Factor-style contest meant just as much.

The culmination of the competition was hailed an outright success by organisers with up to 1,000 people cheering and clapping on to their favourites who took to the stage.

Although Simon – who lives in Sinclair Drive, Ipswich, with his fiancee Racheal and children Ellie, two, and Charlie, one – took the plaudits, the real winners were the stars of the future who proved that Ipswich really has a wealth of talent of which it can be justly proud.

Over the past weeks and months, heats had been held at clubs, pubs and venues all over Ipswich featuring more than 100 acts, with the former Farlingaye High School pupil winning through from the Smock.

Run by the borough council and supported by The Evening Star, Town 102FM, Grapevine, Ipswich Community Partnership and Suffolk Constabulary, the show raised money for the three chosen charities of Ipswich town mayor Jane Chambers – Ipswich Umbrella Trust, Families in Need and East Suffolk Mind.

Money from every DVD shot on the night will also boost the good causes’ coffers.

Judges included borough councillor Nadia Cenci, Evening Star head of news Russell Cook, community safety manager Jim Manning, Superintendent David Skevington of Suffolk Police, Town 102’s Drive Time DJ Geoff Hillyer and music promoter John Hessenthaler, with compere John Alcock.

Show organiser Kevin Smith said: “It was a wonderful night. We have improved on last year and now we have to go on to make next year’s event better.”

n Did you enjoy the Ipswich Has Got Talent final? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters @eveningstar.co.uk