Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 15:25 UK

Take That star and Cameron back school talent search

Gary Barlow and children sing at event as Mr Cameron unveils school music contest

David Cameron has backed the idea of a UK-wide school talent contest based on popular shows such as X Factor.

Joined by Take That star Gary Barlow at a school in Cheshire, the Tory leader said, if elected, his party would use it to promote music in schools.

He said the competition would enable youngsters to "follow their dream".

Barlow, who will record a song with the winner of the contest, performed his hit Greatest Day, accompanied by the school's band and choir.

Mr Cameron told pupils at Brine Leas High School in Nantwich that the British music industry was an "incredible success story", employing 100,000 people and generating £4bn in income.

'Talent spotting'

But its future prosperity depended on finding "raw talent" and enabling youngsters to find an outlet for their abilities, he said.

He said he hoped the Tories' School Stars competition, which would begin next year and end in a national final in 2011, would become as "much a part of school life as the nativity play or sports day".

"More good music in our schools is good for the British economy, it is good for our society and it is good for our soul," Mr Cameron said.

Gary Barlow is one of a number of well-known public figures to have publicly endorsed the Tories during the campaign.

Actor Michael Caine appeared alongside Mr Cameron to back his plan for a voluntary citizens service for 16-year olds while the Tory leader joined former cricketer Sir Ian Botham, a long-time Tory supporter, on a charity walk on Sunday.

Among those backing Labour are comedian Eddie Izzard, who appears in the party's latest TV election broadcast and actor Richard Wilson, who is narrating an audio version of the party's manifesto.

The Lib Dems have the support of Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe and TV presenter Floella Benjamin.

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