RNC student Erin has the X-Mas Factor!

Erin stands on stage, singing into the microphone as she performs the winners song at the Xmas Factor 2015

Today, Friday 18 December, marked the end of term for students at The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) and we celebrated with the traditional Xmas Factor extravaganza! Just like the popular television show, the event featured singing, dancing and a mixed panel of judges including ‘Cheryl Fernandez-Versini’; CEO Sheila Tallon, ‘Louis Walsh’; Student Recruitment Manager Tim Broome, ‘Sharon Osbourne’; Reviews Administrator Donna Gavin-Robinson and student judge, RNC’s Mr. Nasty, George Woodland.


Former Principal Sheila Tallon, who retires as our CEO today says “I know I say this every year, but this Xmas Factor was the best I’ve ever seen! There was such a great atmosphere, fantastic entertainment and it’s lovely to see the support and encouragement that the students give each other for each performance. This event typifies the ethos of RNC; a supportive environment. I am definitely leaving on a high.”


The event, held in RNC’s Chapel Arts and Media Centre, was a glittering affair with Audio Media Production students having another work-based learning opportunity operating the cameras, sound and lighting on the day. The audience consisted of RNC students, staff, friends and family of the College cheering on the acts. They enjoyed a range of songs from Christmas classics to current pop hits to rap to songs sung in French!


After battling through some pretty fierce competition, the winner on the day was 17 year old A Level student Erin Boyce from Bolton, singing ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by Keane. The song was a hit with the audience and also the judging panel who awarded her first place and the opportunity to sing again to close the show.  Erin started at RNC in 2014 as a shy and quiet 16 year old and is registered blind as a result of the eye condition RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa), a condition that affects the retina’s ability to respond to light and causes decreased night vision and loss of peripheral vision. She was both shocked and delighted to be crowned the winner and as she performed the closing winners song with the audience merrily singing and clapping along in their seats, her confidence continued to grow.


Judge Tim Broome said “I don’t think Erin knows just how good she is.” He went on to commend all the performers explaining “A lot of these students would never have had the opportunity do something like this in mainstream and here they are able to sing to a live audience of over 50 people and that should be applauded.”


In his sixth year as Xmas Factor host, Aaron Ford (Sports Academy Coach and Personal and Social Development Teacher) talks about the respect he has for the students “It’s not easy getting up and performing in front of people – I love seeing the students perform as it’s great to them in a completely different environment. Today, we’re able to celebrate their talents and the confidence it takes for them to get up on stage.


After her first ever RNC Xmas Factor, Donna said “I wanted to take the time to be a part of this event and it’s amazing to see the students with so much confidence, really coming into their own. It takes real guts to get up on that stage; I wouldn’t be able to do it.”


Well done to all the students who took part in the show; not only the performers but also the student production team that managed the event with the sound tracks and lighting and also to the students and staff that supported and cheered all the contestants, without you all the show would not go on.


Listen to Erin’s winning song Somewhere Only We Know;

Well done to all the participants in today’s performance – more photos of RNC Xmas Factor can be viewed on our Facebook page


If you are interested in exploring new opportunities available at RNC, please call our student enquiries line on 01432 376 621 or email info@rnc.ac.uk

Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC


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