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Cheltenham's Got Talent

Beechwood Shopping Centre crack

There’s plenty of excitement around Beechwood Shopping Centre with the prospect of hosting Cheltenham’s Got Talent later in the year.

The centre was invited by the Town Mayor Cllr Barbara Driver to stage the event which will give wannabe stars the chance to show off their talents in front of an audience and judges’ panel and Centre Manager Owen Acland was only too pleased to accept.

The talent competition, which will take the form of the popular TV variety show and also raise money for the Mayor’s charities is due to take place during the Christmas holidays and already the anticipation of putting on a major event is starting to build.

Owen said: “We’re delighted to join with the Mayor in this event and pleased Beechwood has been chosen to host it. It’s a great opportunity for people in Cheltenham to have a lot of fun showing off their hidden talents – singing, dancing and a variety of other performances.”

Endorsing the sentiments, the Mayor said: “There are so many talented young people in the town and there definitely needs to be an event to promote what they can do. It will be a big show for everybody to come along to watch and we want as many entrants as possible. Maybe we’ll unearth a big star of the future that the whole of Cheltenham can be proud of.”

More details of the event will be announced in the Press and on Beechwood’s website over the coming months.

Another fundraiser is being held in the centre this month when Cheltenham bellydance teacher Ann Blagden and 40 of her students and volunteers will be putting on a display as part of an on-going project to help paralympic hopeful Melissa Nicholls to compete in the 2012 London Olympics.

Mel, whose life was turned upside down when she suffered a series of severe strokes two years ago, is determined to represent Team GB in the wheelchair racing but more funds are still needed to enable the 32 year old to train and compete at the highest level so she can reach the Olympic standard.

To take part in Ann’s Bollywood workshop and dance at Beechwood on July 23, contact the website

Following recent successful half term events including a circus skills workshop where children could display their juggling and plate spinning skills, face and body painting and a card making workshop, further similar activities are planned in the shopping centre during the summer holidays.

Alongside a return of the face painting, circus skills and crafts workshops, other highlights for families and kids include a number of animal attractions such as farm animals, meercats, skunks, creepy crawlies and other exotic animals as well as a surfboard simulator and rodeo bull simulator where customers will be encouraged to have a go to win prizes. See the Beechwood website for further details.

Beechwood is also proud that its security and cleaning staff were shortlisted in the prestigious Sceptre Awards which recognise best practice in the shopping centre industry across the UK.

Beechwood’s team, which is employed by Westgrove to carry out cleaning, security and maintenance at the centre reached the final and although they didn’t pick up the trophy for top spot, Owen praised their efforts, saying they deserved a huge well done for making the last six for an award that is seen as the Oscars of the industry.

“To be nominated alongside large regional centres at least three times our size shows that our team punches way above its weight in delivering fantastic customer service that has now been acknowledged,” he said.