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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Row over Christmas carol competition
Christmas Card
There are fears the carol contest is 'too competitive'
An unseasonal row is taking place over a Christmas carol competition at a local authority on Tyneside.

Critics say North Tyneside Council is taking political correctness too far, after it advised against holding the contest for children because some of them would have to lose.

The council advised stopping the under-10s event later this year, when the local chamber of trade asked for support.

The contest between local groups raises hundreds of pounds in sponsorship and entertains shoppers as they buy gifts at a Victorian market in North Shields town centre every December.

'Encourage children'

Organiser Maggie Richardson, president of North Shields Chamber of Trade and Commerce, asked the council to help recruit local schools for the contest.

She was advised by an education officer that a contest was too competitive.

Mrs Richardson, who runs her own property business, said: "I'm not taking their advice about this. It's political correctness gone too far."

"I'm a firm believer in competition, otherwise I wouldn't be in business. You have to encourage children to win.

"Of course the biggest thing is participation but to get people to take part you have to have a competition."

'Chamber decision'

A spokesman for North Tyneside Council said: "The chamber of trade asked for advice on the best way to proceed with the event.

"We did advise that it might be more acceptable to schools if the event was not held in the form of a competition but the decision rests with the chamber of trade.

"We are certainly not telling them what they can or cannot do.

"We will circulate details to schools and it is then up to individual headteachers to decide if they want to take part."

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Maggie Richardson, Chamber of Commerce
"This is political correctness gone mad"

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25 Jun 01 | Entertainment
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