A YOUNG Farmers Club from near Builth Wells is celebrating after winning the best pantomime in the country.

Erwood YFC won best panto, best actor and best actress at the organisation’s national championship in Blackpool.

Samuel Powell of Gwenddwr Farm wrote, co-produced and starred as Captain Hook in the panto and took home the best actor award as did his sister, Lydia, who won Best Actress.

Hywel Jones who played the dame Smee was also nominated for Best Actor.

Erwood YFC represented Wales on the big stage with its production of Peter Pan, ‘Return to Neverland’ at the Winter Gardens on May 5. The twist in story is Captain Hook is the good guy and Tinkerbell, played by Lydia Powell, is the villain.

The club competed against two English clubs; Cheriton and Tedburn YFC from Devon and Brampton YFC from Cumbria.

The judges were unanimous about how much they enjoyed the production, choreography and singing, and the sheer enjoyment the cast were showing while performing.

Club leader Stephanie Bufton said: “Erwood YFC members and leaders are overwhelmed by the support of family and friends and the generosity of all our sponsors, without whom, we could never have undertaken the journey.”

The 31 member club have never made it through the first round before let alone the nationals.

It’s been a long journey to the national finals for the small club from Breconshire, owing to the ‘Beast from the East’. Cancelled once owing to snow chaos, the Wales YFC panto finals in Port Talbot again fell foul of the severe weather when a mini-beast struck the country. Club members, friends and families rallied together in 4x4 vehicles to dig out the country roads from snowdrifts to get the club to the Welsh finals on time.

Samuel Powell, aged 21, said: “I was shocked, I really wasn’t expecting to win Best Actor. My mum, sister and I were locked out of the arena when they were about to announce the winners! We were banging on the doors but they eventually let us in and that’s when they said that my sister won Best Actress.”

The Aberystwyth University student said his family, including his other sister Hannah who was also in the production, were over the moon: “I think they were more excited than I was! My 80-year-old grandmother said she’d been waiting her whole life for this!”

“I’ve been writing for the past few years, pantomimes and musicals. Last year, there was a snow day and I thought I should get on and write the panto.”

“Thank you to everyone, friends and families, it’s been a real team effort and a great atmosphere. It’s nice to see the bond in the club has grown stronger.”

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat AM for Brecon and Radnorshire said: “I am so pleased for everyone involved with Erwood YFC. This is such an amazing achievement. I am not surprised they have done so well, because I was lucky enough to see the performance for myself a couple of months ago, and I knew I had seen something very special.”