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Fifteen-year-old Holly Hopkins is a girl on a mission...to beat the boys to Chesterfield’s comedy crown.

Fifteen-year-old Holly Hopkins is a girl on a mission...to beat the boys to Chesterfield’s comedy crown.

As the youngest contender in this year’s Crooked Smile competition, the Shirebrook Academy pupil is up against older, more experienced male comedians.

Performing under the name of Lucy Wardrobe, she said: “My age should be an advantage. At the moment it is a disadvantage as I’m not getting work because of it.

“I am also encountering pockets of sexism, as there are people who just don’t think that women are funny. I will attempt to prove otherwise at the competition.”

Her rivals for the award on September 27 at Chesterfield’s Winding Wheel include Jared Shooter, of Bolsover, making his debut in the competition after only a handful of gigs.

Jared, 17, who works at the Apprentice Team, in Chesterfield, said: “I’m really looking forward to getting a chance to perform on such a big stage. The thing I’m most worried about on the night are hecklers...I really wouldn’t want the audience being funnier than me.”

Contender Barrie Fox, 26 of Chesterfield, is aiming to lay a few ghosts with his return to the contest arena after his debut in 2010. He said: “I remember my set going wrong; I forgot all my set due to it rubbing off my hand, due to alcohol. I am looking forward to showcasing my new material which I’ve learned from doing odd gigs in Edinburgh, Sheffield and Chesterfield pubs.”

John Barnett, 53, who will be performing under the name of David De-ath, said “I play a moonlighting undertaker. I suppose you’d describe it as deadpan. If I die on stage, at least I’ll get a free burial....”

He works for Hitline Disco in Chesterfield, lives on Whittington Moor and is the prospective county council candidate for the St Mary’s ward.

Commenting on the Crooked Smile contest in which there are 11 contenders for the crown, organiser Anthony J. Brown said: “It’s a thrill to watch the performances unfold, particularly from the brand new local stand-ups whose performances tend to straddle the hilarity spectrum from ‘impressively witty’ to, er, ‘requiring a white outline around them on stage’. ”