Calling all Rugby League fans. Have you ever wanted to step on to the famous Wembley pitch wearing your team’s colours in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final? Well this is your perfect opportunity!
Today, BBC’s Songs of Praise announce the launch of the Rugby League Challenge Cup Fans Choir. The competition will see fans from 32 of the teams in this year’s Challenge Cup lead the capacity crowd of over 80,000 at Wembley in a stirring rendition of ‘Abide With Me’ ahead of the final which takes place 27th August. A special edition of Songs of Praise following their journey will also be broadcast on BBC One the following day.
The competition follows on from last year’s successful Songs of Praise fans choir which saw 64 football fans chosen from thousands of entries to sing at Wembley ahead of the FA Cup Final.
If you have an uplifting, exciting or imaginative tale about supporting your team then you have until 12th June to apply. Maybe you’ve hitchhiked from Aberdeen to Toulouse to follow your club, raised money for charity while supporting your team, or gone the extra mile to help a fellow fan – Songs of Praise want to hear your stories.
The final 32 winners will be decided by a judging panel that will include the popular singer and Songs of Praise presenter, Aled Jones, the Leeds Rhinos and England international player Jamie Jones-Buchanan, and Lizzie Jones. Lizzie sang before last year’s final in memory of her husband the former professional Rugby League player Danny Jones.
Lizzie Jones, Rugby League Challenge Cup Fans Choir judge, said: “I’m delighted to be part of the judging panel for this competition. Singing at Wembley before last year’s Challenge Cup final is an experience I will never forget.
“Rugby League fans have some amazing stories to tell. I’m sure this competition will find some of the best and will reward them with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform in front of thousands of people in one of the best stadiums in the world.”
Matthew Napier, Songs of Praise Series Producer, said: “We know Rugby League fans are some of the most passionate sports fans out there. This is their chance to show their love for their club by stepping on the Wembley turf and leading a sold out crowd in a rendition of one of our nation’s favourite hymns live on BBC One. So whether you spend your time cheering St Helens in the stands at Langtree Park, or trekking up and down the motorway to support the London Skolars, we want to hear your uplifting and unusual stories about supporting your club and why you think you deserve a place representing your team in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Fans’ Choir.”
The competition is also open to UK residents who support the French sides Toulouse and Catalans Dragons, providing an international flavour.
The competition will be officially launched during the half time interval of today’s Sixth Round Challenge Cup tie between Castleford Tigers and Salford Red Devils live on BBC One (2pm -4.30pm) with further coverage during Sunday’s episode of Songs of Praise being broadcast on BBC One (4pm – 4.35pm).
The 32 strong choir will be made up of 16 people representing the clubs still in the competition at the sixth round stage and a further 16 fans representing clubs in all the previous rounds.
Details of how you can enter the competition can be found on the Songs of Praise page on the BBC website at: bbc.co.uk/songsofpraise.