top of page

The Radio Lincolnshire “Write a Lincolnshire Folk Song Competition”
aka “Song for Lincolnshire”- a Spalding-centric history!


The competition was the brainchild of our Chair, Dany Dalley, who suggested that Lincolnshire should have its own competition after the demise of the annual songwriting competition at the Beverley Folk Festival. The competition has taken place every year since 1992, apart from 2008-09 when it fell foul of the BBC's general ban on such events following the Blue Peter cat "scandal."  Heritage Lincolnshire was the sole sponsor for a few years after this, until Radio Lincolnshire became involved again. Since 2015 it has taken on a new lease of life, with a three hour live broadcast on finals night, and celebrity guests, both performing and on the judging panel. 

Although there has been debate every time about whether the judges got it right or not, on the whole there has been a complete absence of cut-throat rivalry.  The competition has been an opportunity to enrich the store of songs celebrating everyday Lincolnshire life and history and to broaden everyone's repertoire. Strikingly, many of the entries are collaborations, even between people who on other occasions might be competing against each other (sometimes indeed, people who were doing so on the same night). There are several examples of songs which weren’t winners but have subsequently taken on a life of their own. And of course several of the winners have been taken up by professional performers. 

Until recently there was no complete list of the winners and runners up and our thanks are due to Tom Lane who has laboured in the archives to produce a definitive list. It was thanks to Tom and his unique position as a go-between with Heritage Lincolnshire and the BBC that Dany’s vision was brought to fruition, and as the genial compere on finals night he has contributed a huge amount to the success of the event. And all this despite the fact that his position as organiser has meant that he has had to forgo entering any of his own excellent songs.


What follows is a list of all the winners and runners-up since 1992, together with a list of all the Spalding-leaning writers who reached the final but weren’t among the prizes.  This second category includes some adopted Spaldonians who have joined us via 2020’s virtual singaround or have other connections. Looking at all the entries over the years, Spalding and Grimsby between them have contributed an impressive number of entries. And as for the actual winning songs, by 2020 Spalding has seven against six from Grimsby – neck and neck!

Inevitably mistakes creep into lists such as this – do let us know if there’s anything we’ve got wrong. And if you have some story or reminiscence about the competition do get in touch, and we’ll add them to the page. Here's the address to write to:


1992  Winner: The Green Mist is Rising (Dave Vermond). 
Joint runners up: Heartbeat of the Fens (John Sykes), Forgotten Harvest (Dany Dalley and John Sykes), 
Other finalists: Fenland Giants (Kim Johnson), Last of the Line (Phil Biggs)

1993  Winner: Sea Change (Mark Addison and Kate Abbot)

Runners up: Come Alive O Gainsborough (Peggy Wright), Riby Square (Len Morter)
Other finalists: The Cork Tree (Penny Sykes), Tail End Charlie (John Sykes), Dancing in New York (Paul Dickinson)

1994 Winner: In Between the Dances (Mark Addison and Paul Dickinson)
Runners up: The North Wall (Dave Evardson), Lincolnshire Lass (Dany Dalley and John Sykes)
Other finalists: Ron Diggins Diggola (John Sykes), Borrowed Places (Penny Sykes), Edge of a World (Chris and Paul Dickinson)

1995 Winner; Tom Wood (Jane Ludlum)

Runners up: Horse for all Seasons (Dick Appleton), Alford Fair (Kate Abbott)
Other finalists: Unknown Land (Penny Sykes), Greenlands (Mark Addison), Spring Song (Angela King and Paul Dickinson), General Midwinter (John Sykes).

There was a theme this year “The Seasons”

1996 Winner: The Story Tree (John Conolly)
Runners up: Wild Goose Man (Penny Sykes), First Time out of Lincolnshire (Dave Wilson)
Other finalists: The Sausages of Lincolnshire (Paul Dickinson), Love in a Mist (Dany Dalley), Old Father Lincoln (Phil Biggs), The Boggart (Steve Redshaw)

1997 Winner: The Swing Bridge (Penny Sykes and Paul Dickinson )
Runners up: The Little Flock of Sheep (Paul Dickinson) NB Deemed libellous and unfit for broadcast. Mucky Slow and Late (Pete Addison)
Other finalist: Strange Lights over Lincolnshire (Dany Dalley). The Jolly Fisherman (John Sykes)

There was a theme: “In the News Now and Then”

1998 Winner: The Big Bang (Dany Dalley and John Sykes)
Runners up: The Fenland Dye (Penny Sykes – performed by Miranda Sykes), Man of Ore (Phil Thomson)

Highly commended by the judges: Yellowbellies (Len Rout)
Other finalists: Tulip Day ( Chris and Paul Dickinson)

1999 Winner: Fisher Lads and Lassies We (Pete Addison)

Runner up: Tractor Drivers Song (Jim Hancock), Dream of a Working Man (Dave Wilson)

Other finalists: The Lincolnshire Dream (Penny Sykes), Chain Gang (Dany Dalley and John Sykes)

2000 Winner: Speed King (John Sykes)
Runners up: The Drovers' Clock (Penny Sykes), The Rusty Old Van (Dany Dalley)

Other Finalists: The Plover Catcher (Elizabeth Padgett), Dead Man's Hand (Kim Biggs)


2001 Winner: Jag Day (Jim Hancock and Geoff Convery)

Runners up: I’m Coming Home, Mam (Dave Wood and Neil Quinn), Apple Crumble Court (Paul Dickinson)
Other finalists: Out at Sea (Penny Sykes), Nanny Rut (Steve Redshaw)

2002 Winner: Lincolnshire Family (Dave Evardson)
Runners up: Follow the Drum (Dave Fletcher), Slash Hollow (David and Hannah Hurdman)

2003 Winner: Woven Threads of Linen (Sue Dewsbury) 
Runner up: Billinger Ruffs (Billinger Ruffs), The Tathwell Rovers (David Prestidge)

Other Finalists: Boston Farewell (Dany Dalley), Lincolnshire Landscape (Dave Evardson)

Also performed: Old Sessions House (Angela King) (not a finalist but performed on the night by special request)

2004 Winner: Give it up for Jim (Paul Dickinson)

Runners up: Goodbye Big Mill (Geoff Convery), Ode to Michael Strong (Billinger Ruffs)

Other finalists: In the Forest of Bourne (Lesley Curtis)


2005 Winner: The Day we Went aDrinkin at the Show (Jim Hancock)

Runner up: Footsteps of Legions (Mark Ashworth), Ross Trawler’s Return (Michael Hill)


2006 Winner: The Fallen of Fulstow (Mark Addison and John Blanks)

Runners up: Hearts of Oak Run Aground (Mark Ashworth), The Tail Gunner’s Tale (Ian Abbot)

Special mention here to Martin Browne who had an excellent song ready to submit and then had to withdraw when his partner Liz was invited to join the judging panel.


2007 Winner: The Millers Daughter (Dick Appleton)

Runners up: Those Who Will Not Know Me (Mark Addison and John Blanks), This Singing (Angela King)


2008 No competition due to BBC restrictions.

2009 ditto


2010 Winner: When the Gallopers come to Town (Mark Ashworth)

Runners up: Lincoln Castle Demolition Crew (Dick Appleton), Ancholme Toll Bridge (Jim Hancock)

Other finalists: Long Ago in Spilsby (Paul Dickinson)


2011 Winner: The Boston Dame (Penny Sykes)

Runners up: Missing Man (Mark Addison and John Blanks), Lincolnshire Heart (Lorraine Bennington)


2012 Winner: Only You Can Go (Mark Addison and Phil Biggs)

Runners up: Down by the Brayford Side (Clare Harding), Kept the Fields Green (Jonathan Eyre)


2013 Winner: King of the River (Dick Appleton)

Runners up:  Fields Where Bombers Flew (Mark Ashworth), Cush Cush My Girls (Gareth Patten)


2014 Winner: That’s How Our Rivers Run (Clare Harding)

Runner up: When the Fleet Comes In (Rob Clarke), Tom Otter’s Lane (Bob Ebdon)

Other finalists: Statues in Time (Penny Sykes), Moulton Mill (Angela King),

2015 Winner: Johnny Wield (Ian and Michelle Wright)

Runners up: Lincolnshire Changes (Penny Sykes), Lincoln Ladies (Paul Dickinson)

Other finalists: The Legend of Grandsire Bob (Julie Wigley)


2016 Winner: White Mercury (The Rye Sisters)

Runner up: Swords and Ploughshares (Ian and Michelle Wright), The Colours of the Earth (Kate Anna)

Other finalist: Pride of the West (Angela King), Caythorpe Calling Pegasus (Julie Wigley), Heyday of the Parade (Kim Biggs), Bits of Tin and Farm Machines (Between the Lines), Gwintilllian (Rick Huddleston)


2017 Winner: Sean Mumby’s Dancing Feet (Nick McCann)

Runners up: Mushroom Ketchup (Kim Biggs), The Surfleet Experiment (Penny Sykes)

Other finalists: Lincolnshire Heroes (Paul Dickinson), Emily Our Pioneer (Ashley Groombridge & Angela King), Tabshag (Ian and Michelle Wright), My Lincolnshire Post (Julie Wigley).


2018 Winner: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Man (Penny Sykes)

Runners up: Wood and Stone (Angela King), Red, Green, Gold and Blue (Charlie Russell)

Other finalists: Saltmakers (Julie Wigley)

2019 Winner: In Local Tongue (Andy Lenton)

Runners up: Ferdinand and Sophia at Donna Nook (Rob Clarke), Sacred Witham (Ian and Michelle)

Other finalists: Old Bob’s Day (Phil Biggs), Cranky Jimmy (Kim Biggs). Hairy Jack (Zeph Churchill), The Grimsby Trawlerman (Julie Wigley)


2020 Winner: The Beechey Boys (Ian and Michelle Wright)

Runners up: Mark the Times (Mark Addison and John Blanks), Dancing (John Davies)

Other finalists: Goodbye Sugar Beet (Paul Dickinson), Gift of Angels (Julie Wigley), Heart of the Fens (Zeph Churchill)

bottom of page