pic for catering storyA passion for produce, a taste for the very best in fine food and a deep-rooted desire for delicious drinks – Northampton College is on the hunt for the county’s ‘Food Hero’ of 2020.

The college has teamed up with the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards to sponsor this coveted category at the annual celebration, which champions all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

It is the first time Northampton College has sponsored this award and staff from the much-respected catering department are looking forward to seeing who is crowned this year’s winner.

Head of Catering and Hospitality, Phil Martin, said: “Northamptonshire is home to some incredible food and drink producers and the industry is absolutely buzzing at the minute, with an emerging pool of supremely talented chefs and innovative restaurateurs really putting the county on the culinary map.

“We are fortunate to have a network of people who are so passionate about local food and drink, they champion our county and the work done by all those in the profession. There are some amazing projects popping up all over the county and people are really stepping up to the plate.

“The Food Hero award is open to anyone and it promises to be extremely competitive. I’m expecting to see a lot of entries and a lot of deserving winners. As the ‘college in the community’ it seems a natural fit to be sponsoring this award this year. It’s going to be fascinating to see who comes out on top.”

College students are normally heavily involved in the service of the meal dished up at the awards ceremony but the event is likely to be very different this year, with COVID-19 restrictions potentially meaning the annual celebration could be held remotely for the first time.

Students will definitely be competing for the title of ‘Food and Drink College Student of the Year’- a new award that will celebrate college students from across Northamptonshire who have demonstrated exceptional skills development throughout their learning and who are proud young ambassadors for the sector.

A former Northampton College student, Danny Tompkins, was last year named the winner of the coveted ‘Chef of the Year’ award after fending off the challenge of five other finalists at the cook-off at Booth Lane.

Having spent the first months of lockdown helping to create more than 11,000 meals for NHS staff, Danny has now returned to his role as a private chef, offering to cater for dinner parties in clients’ homes, as well as supplying weekend meat and cheese boxes to order.

For more details of the awards visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk.

performing arts shows webpage imageSome of the biggest names in showbiz have sent their support to Musical Theatre students at Northampton College, who had their hopes of starring in their end-of-year performance dashed by COVID-19.

The Final Major Project (FMP) is the highlight of the course for students, the culmination of two years’ hard work and the chance to showcase their skills in front of a sell-out crowd, but the global pandemic thwarted any chance they had of appearing on stage.

To soften the blow, a host of West End stars have sent video messages to the students, wishing them well in their future careers and congratulating them on their work during their time at Booth Lane.

Among those to record a message was former Dr Who and I’m a Celebrity star John Barrowman, who said: “I want to say sorry that you’re not getting to perform your FMP but you’ve all come so far and done such great work over these two years. You should be exceptionally proud of what you’ve done and that’s really worth celebrating.”

Also passing on his best wishes was Kinky Boots star Callum Francis who added: “When I played in Northampton it was crazy special to me because it is based there. Missing your final show really sucks, I’m really sorry – this is a crazy, crazy time.”

Layton Williams, who plays Jamie in West End smash ‘Everyone’s Talking About Jamie’ said: “You’ve all done very well, I wish you could have performed your FMP which would have been sh-amazing!”
Dear Evan Hansen star Jack Loxton added: “You’ve done amazing work over the past two years. I hope you’re all safe and well and keeping engaged in musical theatre.”

The video messages were sourced by student Connor Allbright, one of those who missed out on appearing in the FMP.

He said: “It was a big blow to not be able to put on the show, we’d all worked so hard towards it. As part of my job at the moment I was having to get content from celebrities so I thought I’d ask some of them if they would record a message for my fellow students. It’s great to know they are supporting us and the whole industry is really sticking together at such a difficult time.”

Northampton College’s Musical Theatre students have a proven track record of hitting the big time, with several alumni now starring on stage in shows around the world.

The current crop have already hit the headlines this summer, with a ‘virtual cover version’ of classic feelgood song Somewhere Over The Rainbow attracting widespread national and international media coverage, including articles as far afield as Gibraltar.

Students compiled their version of the Judy Garland song ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ from their own homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, each sending in videos of them singing and performing. The recordings were then stitched together and laid over an instrumental track to form a full music video which highlighted their hopes for the future as they look to emerge from lockdown life.

For details about Level 3 Musical Theatre at Northampton College please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

mt for news story final
Students at Northampton College have recorded a ‘virtual cover version’ of a classic feelgood song to highlight their hopes for the future as they look to emerge from lockdown life.

Musical Theatre and Dance students compiled their version of the Judy Garland song ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ from their own homes during the COVID-19 restrictions, each sending in videos of them singing and performing. The recordings were then stitched together and laid over an instrumental track to form a full music video.

The ballad was originally written for the Wizard of Oz film in 1939 but has become synonymous with being a beacon of hope in difficult times. It was most recently covered by Ariana Grande in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombings in 2017.

The track was the brainchild of musical theatre tutor Suzanne Lewis and arranged by music tutor Natalie Evans, who said: “It’s been a very tough few months for everyone and we wanted to put something together which reflected the uncertainty and difficulty we have all experienced, but also something which hinted at the prospect of better days to come.

“The song we chose, ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, seems to encapsulate that perfectly and the students really brought into it. I uploaded the harmony onto Google Classroom and they all filmed themselves performing their parts and submitted them for the team to knit together.

“We’re thrilled with the end result. It’s been a real team effort and the students now have something they can treasure forever which will serve as a reminder of what all of us have been through throughout the lockdown restrictions.”

The choreography was put together by dance tutors Jess Smith and Tracey Stanton and included some elements of students’ own work from the previous year.

Pat Brennan-Barrett, Principal of Northampton College, said: “The restrictions put in place to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic have affected all of us, but the response from our staff and students has been nothing short of incredible.

“From sending food parcels to vulnerable neighbours to 3D printing shields, masks and face coverings for frontline healthcare staff, the college community has stood up and met this crisis head on. We have a lot to be proud of and this wonderful recording perfectly captures the mood of the whole college.

“Yes it’s been tough, yes we’ve made sacrifices but we are now starting to look ahead. There is a glimmer of light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel, and we are all looking forward to the future once again."

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Rachel Toland, Level 3 Early Years Educator

Rachel Toland, Level 3 Early Years Educator

"I’d always wanted to work with children and after work experience, I decided that a nursery was the best option for me. I was signed up through my workplace, the...



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