Welcome to Yorkshire, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and award-winning classical opera singer Lizzie Jones MBE have launched a brand-new music competition to help celebrate and promote the county as we all adapt to life with COVID-19.

The LNER Song for Yorkshire contest is aimed at aspiring singers and songwriters of all ages who are being invited to compose an original song to shout loud and proud about why the county is such a great place to live, study, work and of course to visit.

Lead judge Lizzie Jones MBE is joined by a panel of esteemed Yorkshire talent including Kaiser Chiefs’ Simon Rix, Capital presenter JoJo, stage and screen star Natalie Anderson, TV presenter Luxmy Gopal, LNER Commercial Director Suzanne Donnelly and theatre producer Dan Bates.

The judges will be looking for a song that best describes how special Yorkshire is, its diversity of landscape, people and places.

Head Judge, singer, Lizzie Jones MBE said: “I’m delighted to be leading the judging on this brilliant new competition which combines two of my biggest passions, singing and Yorkshire. Lockdown has been a huge challenge for so many people across the county and what better way to raise our spirits than coming up with a ‘Song for Yorkshire. I hope people will be inspired by the favourite Yorkshire places they’ve missed while staying home and also the beauty they’ve rediscovered on their own doorsteps!”

Suzanne Donnelly, Commercial Director at LNER said: “Yorkshire is a core part of the LNER route and we’re delighted to be a part of this exciting search for the best talent in the country. We’re honoured to serve some of the most vibrant communities in Yorkshire and our colleagues and customers are well versed in what the local areas have to offer. Our customers frequently travelling on our route through Yorkshire tell us that there is plenty of inspiration to be seen.”

Entries must be in by 13th November 2020. The judges will then choose four finalists which will be revealed on 7th December. These four entries will be professionally filmed before being put to a public vote, with the winner announced on 11th December.

The winning song will receive a cash prize of £1000 and be celebrated across social media with the opportunity for regional press coverage. There will also be the chance to perform the song live in front of an audience (in line with any current COVID 19 guidelines).

Welcome to Yorkshire’s Chief Executive James Mason said: “It’s something we’ve wanted to launch for a while but unfortunately Coronavirus put things on hold. However, we’re really excited about it, and think now is the perfect time. After all, we could all do with a little pick me up at the moment, couldn’t we? During lockdown, many of us have rediscovered so many of the wonderful things we have right in our own back yard here in Yorkshire and now we want you to help us tell the world about our great county. We can’t wait to hear what you come up with.”

The song can be performed solo or by a group, band or choir, and can be any type of music – from rap, hip-hop, or soul, to pop, dance or even folk or classical. The more diverse the entries the better.

All that is being asked is that it must be an original song all about Yorkshire, is no more than four minutes long and a video file is submitted online at www.yorkshire.com/song Full details of how to enter can also be found there.

Welcome to Yorkshire and LNER want to hear what people are planning so please use the hashtag #SongForYorkshire when sharing any lyrics, tunes, thoughts or ideas on social media.