Before the show got under way, the song ‘Somebody’s Lost Princess’ was performed by the two girls, Georgia and Hollie aged 15 and 16, who wrote the song paying special tribute to the still-missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick. Amy’s mother, Audrey, told The Euro Weekly News: “It was an amazing start to the night, for these two kids to do this was so heart-warming and touching for us.

It was very emotional as when they sang, behind them on a huge screen photos of Amy were being shown, There aren’t enough words I can say to thank them and to thank Maurice Boland for arranging this; it just boosts us and helps us feel a little bit more confident in the search for Amy, knowing there are people like that out there helping us.”

To rapturous applause from the packed hall, the ten finalists individually sung their chosen songs in front of a large TV screen that, before each one, showed a brief video of them talking about how they too had been touched by tragedy in their lives (in the same vein as the X Factor). After the initial round, the panel of judges retired to the jury room to pick the best five to go through to the second round. During the second half, a very special performance took place when all ten finalists and the 15 runners-up, all dressed in white, performed a medley of songs from the hit musical ‘Mamma Mia’.

Before the final five were announced, Hannah Murray, surprised Maurice by displaying photographs of him from when he was young, in a sneaky attempt at a practical joke. One which bounced right back at her as Maurice knew her plans all along and as she was stood on the stage he told her to look behind her as photos of her younger self were being shown on the big screen. Maurice laughs: “She thought she was setting me up but she had no idea I had been in touch with her parents two weeks before to get these photos of her. She nearly collapsed on stage!”

The final five were announced, and they each performed their chosen songs. They were: Cath John, Geneva Lane, Natasha Rosandic, Jade Moxley and Isabel (Spain). Maurice’s son Daniel Boland, Paul Sedkowski and Judge Laura Krier (with her backing band) performed for the first time the song commissioned by Maurice to be recorded with Geneva Lane and sold via the internet (link at to raise funds for Cudeca. “It is important everyone logs on and buys it when it comes out.

They will not only be supporting this important charity but also showing support for Geneva Lane,” stresses Boland. From the five came the final two: Geneva Lane and Natasha Ronsadic. Then, Geneva was overcome with tears of joy as she was pronounced winner of the 2008 WOW Factor, and the audience paid tribute to her with a standing ovation. A grateful Joan Hunt, OBE, Cudeca founder, told The Euro Weekly News: “It was a very exciting event both for the spectators and the finalists. The production and presentation were very professional, which was the result of great team work for many weeks ahead of the great night.

Maurice Boland and his team of Cudeca volunteers, together with Steve Shappelle, the producer, had been planning everything for weeks, commencing with the semi-finals leading up to the grand final and the selection of the winner by the judges, supported by one vote by each member of the audience. The judges did a great job but, of course, as in all competitions, it is always sad that there have to be losers. I would have liked everyone to be a winner as they were all first class with lots of potential.” Maurice Boland feels proud of their achievement: “Overall, I felt absolutely delighted with the show.

As it is the first one, some hiccups are to be expected. I salute producer Steve Shappelle who put together an amazing show. He did a production in three days what should have taken six weeks. I also want to thank the hugely successful businessman and WOW Factor sponsor, Bassim Haidar. Not forgetting all the contestants, the audience and all the people behind the scenes that made this possible. A big, big ‘thank you’ to them.” So, the question that is on everybody’s mind: Will there be another one next year? A question Maurice Boland is more than happy to answer: “Yes, there will be another one, this time it will be even bigger and better! We plan to have heats in Gibraltar, Mallorca, Benidorm and maybe even in the Algarve.”

EVERY ROSE…As often happens following this sort of event, we have heard that since the final on Sunday, a few nasty comments have been posted online about the final two, in particular the winner. Maurice Boland is furious with them as he says: “It is distasteful that these remarks have been made. Not only was the winner fantastic but the whole event was to raise funds for charity.”DONATE To donate to Cudeca call the centre on (0034) 952 56 49 10 or log on to their website NEXT UP… Telethon in aid of Cudeca Cancer Care Hospice. Don’t forget’s 2008 charity telethon is on December 12 to raise funds for Cudeca. Donated prizes are already appearing for auction at the website:

WOW Factor Comment: ‘Simply the Best’ Michel Euesden, EWN Media Group Publisher: “The evening was without doubt a stunning success. The calibre of the finalists would match any COPYCAT television production. The professionalism of the whole event was of the highest possible standard. “However, the greatest thrill for me was to see 500 expatriates supporting an event which is to raise money to save our hospice.

The national newspapers of Great Britain are so quick to report the facts about the ‘Costa del Crime’ and its entire wrongdoings – but never do they report on the passion and energy we put into helping our fellow countrymen. Sunday night made me proud to call myself an expat – usually a turn of phrase I run away from.

Everyone who supported this memorable event should give themselves a pat on the back – you are simply the best. “Finally, a special mention must go to the tireless charity fundraiser – Mr Maurice Boland – I simply do not know how he does it, but on behalf of everyone who has benefited from the monies he has raised over the years, thank God he does. Without doubt, he is the man with the WOW factor! Thank you, Maurice.”