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Rochester schoolboy Edward Hyde, from Sittingbourne, wins BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year competition

A young chorister from Rochester Cathedral has shot to stardom after winning a national competition.

Edward Hyde, 12, of Iwade, near Sittingbourne, beat thousands of boys and girls across the UK to scoop the title of BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year.

Edward, a pupil at King’s School, Rochester, has already landed radio and TV appearances and recording deals after receiving the accolade from broadcaster Diane Louise Jordan.

Edward Hyde, pictured at Rochester Cathedral
Edward Hyde, pictured at Rochester Cathedral

His rendition of I Vow to Thee My Country and Be Thou My Vision overwhelmed the judges at the finals at Manchester Cathedral on Monday.

Rupert Walker, 14, who is also a member of the choir and goes to King’s, made it to the final four.

Proud parents Sophie and Phillip Hyde, who were in the audience, said it was “terribly emotional”.

Mrs Hyde, a singing teacher, said: “Edward has always loved singing. When he came on to the stage, he was at home.

“People don’t realise the tremendous amount of work and commitment you have to do to be a chorister. These are professional musicians performing to a professional standard at a tender age.”

Mrs Hyde and husband Phillip, a trombonist, are insistent that Edward’s education takes priority. She said: “ We may have to work round it, but the BBC also ensures that his academic life comes first.”

One of his first commitments is to perform at Songs of Praise.

Chorister Rupert Walker
Chorister Rupert Walker

Mrs Hyde added: “My husband and I both went to Trinity College of Music in London and met at a Songs of Praise recording.”

Rupert, son of school principal Jeremy Walker, was selected for the choir after moving to Rochester with his family five years ago.

Dean of Rochester, the Very Rev Dr Philip Hesketh, said: “To have two choristers in the final of this national competition is amazing.”

Scott Farrell, music director at Rochester Cathedral, said: “I am immensely proud. Apart from the parents, I was the fifth most emotional person there.”

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