Festival crown for Sally after note-perfect Burns rendition

Burns World Federation champion singer Sally Thomas
Burns World Federation champion singer Sally Thomas

TEENAGER Sally Thomas struck the right note when she was named best overall singer at the Robert Burns World Federation Secondary Schools Festival in Aberdeen.

Sally, who sang a perfect rendition of Burns’ classic ‘Fair Helen of Kirkconnel’, was among a whole host of Borderers who made the journey north after enjoying success at the regional qualifiers in Hawick earlier this year.

Winners from each of the categories covering recitation, instrumental, solo singing, piping, and the junior and senior Burnsians went forward to represent the Borders in the festival.

And slightly shy 15-year-old Sally admitted she was in shock when she was announced as the winner.

She told the Hawick News: “I was nervous but I had done it a few times before. I won the category before in S1/2, but never the best overall singer. I never expected it, because the senior singers are very good.

“You listen to all the singers when you’re there, and there were lots I thought would beat me in the category.

“But, I ended up winning overall.”

The talented high school pupil started singing while in primary six in Trinity school’s production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and has enjoyed hitting the high notes ever since.

She added: “It was just a small part, but I really enjoyed it. I’m still not that confident, but this success helps.

“I like the Burns songs and enjoy singing them. They’re my favourites, along with the Hawick songs.”

Robin Dodyk, Borders Association of Burns Clubs’ schools competition convenor, said: “Without a doubt the talent on show this year was the best ever.”