After a month of staying tight-lipped, young singers from Londonderry's St Patrick's Primary School – bursting with pride at having won the UK's biggest choir competition – have been able to celebrate their incredible triumph.
The Songs of Praise Choir of the Year finals took place in Liverpool last month, but the students – aged from nine to 11 – were sworn to secrecy until the show was broadcast. Under the direction of music teacher Ursula Cullen, St Patrick's 40-strong choir sang On Eagle's Wings and Joshua Fought The Battle Of Jericho to beat hundreds of other primary schools to be named the UK's best.
Delighted school principal Eamon Devlin said keeping the wonderful news quiet had been extremely difficult. "I would say it was Derry's worst kept secret amongst the 800-strong pupils at the school but we weren't allowed to talk about it until now.
"It's been a long few weeks and a relief that we can tell everyone about it now," he revealed.
"It was an amazing achievement for the school and particularly good that we won the competition when we are the City of Culture." Ms Cullen said she was "amazingly proud" of the pupils' achievement, who won their title in the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool.
"We were all nervous but excited but had no idea how well the other two finalists had done, so I was amazingly proud when they announced we'd won," she said.
Choir member Nina Margey (9) said: "It was very scary being on the stage because it was the first time I have ever sung on a stage, but it was exciting when we were the winners."
Eimear Wilson (9) added: "It was amazing."