Our newest star sets her sights on the west end
H ER dream is to perform on the West End stage. And with a ring of flowers in her hair, a smile on her face, and the voice of an angel she moved a step closer.
In front of a packed house, 13-year-old Grace Allen won the Fry Club and Bristol Post Junior Search for a Star contest for 2013.
She performed the gentle Some Things Are Meant To Be from Little Women and then the familiar You'll Never Walk Alone from the musical Carousel and the Anfield and Parkhead football grounds.
And she delivered them both with care, precision and feeling.
She came out ahead of 13 other hopefuls, all girls except for guitar player Tom Purnell, 13.
After being presented with the Fry Club winner's trophy and a cheque for £150, Grace said: "I love entertaining people."
The John Cabot Academy pupil said: "I have been singing for as long as I can remember.
"I would love one day to be performing in musicals in the West End."
In second place came singer Katie Williams, from Knowle. She sang Think Of Me from Phantom Of The Opera and Good Morning Baltimore from Hairspray.
Katie, a pupil at Oasis Academy, received a cheque for £100.
The 13-year-old said: "My mum and dad used to be entertainers and my great-grandmother was an opera singer."
The finalists performed in front of an audience of more than 150 people at Keynsham's Fry Club and Conference Centre in a contest that lasted almost three hours.
In third place came Martha Clements who sang and played the piano.
Thirteen-year-old Martha, from Chipping Sodbury, has been singing since she was nine and began playing piano two years later.
She performed Gabrielle Aplin's Home and Emeli Sande's Read All About It.
Martha, who attends Katharine Lady Berkeley's School, was presented with a cheque for £75.
She said she loves to play piano and sing.
Martha said: "I sit down and play piano all the time. It is something I really enjoy doing."
In fourth place came 13-year-old singer Martha Meager from Brislington.
She sang Someone Like You from the musical Jekyll And Hyde and Some People from Gypsy. The Bristol Cathedral Choir School pupil said: "I love musical theatre and I did not want to sing the same songs as everyone else."
The annual talent contest for children aged under 14 was started in 1973 and relaunched 22 years ago.
Kevin Thatcher, the first winner of the competition 40 years ago, was chairman of the judges.
Joining him on the judging panel were Fry Club pantomime director Louise Smee and Bristol Post deputy editor Rob Stokes.
Mr Thatcher, who is also chairman of the Fry Club, said: "The standard of performances tonight was extremely high.
"It was a great evening of entertainment with a large variety of songs."