A YOUNG singing star who is due to perform in Chard this March has said she was overwhelmed by the support she received – despite narrowly missing out on winning a national competition.

Annabel Davies, 12, of Churchill, near Axminster, reached the finals of Open Mic UK at the NEC in Birmingham after impressing at a series of auditions and heats held over two months.

The talented youngster beat off competition from 10,000 entrants to get as far as she did and finished in the top five of the shortlisted 25 competitors vying to be crowned under-16 champion in the grand final.

On top of the pressure of giving her all in front of thousands of people, Annabel sang first – performing Somebody to Love – but was spurred on by knowing more than 50 friends and family members were in the audience.

She said: “Opening the show was really nerve-wracking but I also felt quite privileged to do so and I started to relax once I started singing.

“I had to practice a lot over the twomonth period but I don’t mind because I love singing and have done since I was very young.

"It was really comforting to know so many friends and family were there – some people came all the way from Budapest to support me. I am so grateful for all the support.

“The whole competition was a great experience and I think I did quite well overall. It was absolutely fantastic to be involved.”

Annabel’s mum, Dr Sue Davies, was a GP at Tawstock Medical Centre in Chard for 16 years before moving to Crewkerne Health Centre, where she now works.

She said: “It was a great performance. Annabel had the largest crowd of supporters with her and we were all so proud of her.”

Annabel’s singing career does not stop here – she has several upcoming events, including Dorset’s Got Talent and a number of festivals in the summer.

Her next performance close to home is at the Gallery in Chard at 7pm on Saturday, March 1 – tickets cost £5 from the venue or from her mum on 07920-057975.