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The memory of a young musician who tragically drowned in Whitley Bay in 2013 has been remembered following a high profile competition to find talented comedy scriptwriters from the North East.

As well as being a talented musician, Philip Richardson was also popular on the ‘open-mic’ comedy circuit in the region. His love of music and comedy was one of the reasons why his family and friends put on events and donated to the Sunday For Sammy Trust following his death.

Last year, the Sunday for Sammy Trust, launched the first of an annual competition to give the winning comedy writer the chance to have their sketch professionally performed in front of thousands of admiring Geordies at the packed out City Hall concerts.

The Sketch for Sammy 2015 winner was Kevin Wilkinson, from Morpeth. His sketch was set in a cafe that sold hundreds of kinds of coffee and was performed by newsreaders Pam Royle and Ian Payne with Emmerdale’s Laura Norton. After the sketch, Kevin was brought onto the  stage to have the Sketch for Sammy 2015 Philip Richardson Comedy Award presented by Sunday for Sammy Trustee Tim Healy assisted by Jeff Brown and Sharon Barbour.

Kevin, a business manager, said: “The whole experience was fantastic, from the initial get together, working on my idea and seeing it performed by the Laffalang Gang at the Stand was just amazing. To have it performed at the City Hall was a dream come true.

“To have 2,500 people watching my sketch and then being applauded by them as I collected the award on stage was fantastic. It has spurred me on to writing and I look forward to more writing opportunities.”

Now, other aspiring writers will be able to have the same experience as Kevin as the 2016 competition is launched.

Well-known comedians Jason Cook and Gavin Webster are getting ready to judge initial entries before choosing ten people to go forward to a day school at The Stand comedy club in Newcastle hosted by award-winning playwright and Sunday for Sammy sketch writer Ed Waugh.

Ed, who writes the hugely popular Laffalang shows, will take the attendees through classic sketches and outline how to write a three-minute sketch.

The initial event will take place at The Stand, Newcastle, on Sunday, April 3, at 11am and is open to everyone aged from 15 to 115.

Sketches will then be submitted by Friday, May 29, and Jason Cook and Gavin Webster will choose the best six. The finalists will then work with Ed to develop the sketches that will be performed by professional actors from the Laffalang Gang at The Stand, Newcastle, on Sunday, August 7, at 1pm. The judges will be the Sunday for Sammy trustees including Tim Healy, Ray Laidlaw, Billy Mitchell and Geoff Wonfor.

The winner will receive the Sketch for Sammy 2016 Philip Richardson Comedy Award.