Manchester fronts ‘Y Factor’ raising £20,000 for Mencap


Manchester’s corporate finance community put their singing talents to the test at a glitzy ‘X-Factor’-style challenge raising over £20,000 for learning disability charity Mencap.

The ‘Y-Factor’ event was held in front of a 300-strong audience at Studio– in the Chicago Rock Cafe complex on Peter Street, Manchester on 20 September 2007.

Organisers at Clearwater Corporate Finance, Barclays, NW Business Insider and Mencap challenged eight budding singers from the corporate finance community who included; Lisa Gibson from Triple Three Solutions Ltd, Sean Fitzgerald from Cobbetts, Ray Stenton from LDC, Tony Dean & Claire Young from Royal Bank of Scotland, Mary Jaquiss & Gillian Bishop from MC2, Carl Houghton from Clearwater, Tim Marlow from Ford Campbell and Michael Taylor – editor of North West Business Insider.

The eight competed against each other in a hotly contested competition to win votes from the audience. Sean Fitzgerald, a partner at Cobbetts took the crown with his rendition of Tom Jones’s Delilah, followed by Clearwater’s Carl Houghton and Ford Campbell’s Tim Marlow.

Judges included Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce chief executive -Angie Robinson, Jo Price – head of the Manchester-based Vocal Academy plus Terry Christian, presenter of BBC Radio Manchester’s Drivetime show and co-presenter of the Manchester Music Show.

The event’s musical directors were Jeremy Smith of Barclays Commercial Finance team, a former member of Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, and Jo Price. Jeremy and Jo had rehearsed with contestants and prepared the song arrangements.

Jeremy, who also played keyboards and led the backing band commented: “For most of the contestants, singing with a live band in front of an audience was a new and daunting experience, but it was great to see their confidence levels rise as we went through rehearsals, culminating in some terrific performances on the night.”

Mike Reeves of Clearwater Corporate Finance who played guitar in the band accompanying the contestants added: “Y-Factor promised to be a sparkling event and a fun night out, and it was just that. All the contestants put their heart and soul into their performances with Sean a very worthy winner. We achieved our goal of raising over £20,000 for vitally needed funds for this extremely deserving cause.”

Gayle Derrick, Mencap’s head of fundraising in the North West said: “It was a wonderful night and full of fun. We are delighted that the Y Factor exceeded its target of £20,000. The money raised will help Mencap develop our Gateway Award scheme in the North West. This helps to teach life skills to young people with a learning disability, many of which others take for granted.”

The size of our team and the deals we advise on make us the most active independent corporate finance house in the markets in which we operate.


  • There are 200,000 people in the North West with a learning disability who need the help of Mencap. For more information contact 0161 968 9269 or visit
  • Mencap is celebrating its sixtieth year in 2006/07. It is now the UK’s biggest learning disability charity. National and local events are taking place throughout the year.
  • Mencap works with people with a learning disability and their families and carers.
  • 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
  • Learning disability affects someone’s intellectual and social development all their life.
  • It is not mental illness. It is not dyslexia.
  • It used to be called mental handicap but we don’t use this term anymore because most people with a learning disability find it offensive.
  • People with a learning disability don’t get an equal chance in life. That’s why we fight to change laws and services, and directly support thousands of people to live their lives the way they want.
  • For information about learning disability issues please call the Learning Disability Helpline (England) on 0808 808 1111
  • For online press information, go to