An aspiring young singer from Wigan has been given a huge confidence boost by her progression in a local singing competition.
Katie Barker from Standish reached the semi-finals of Sing, Bolton Sing after wowing judges in her recent first-round audition.
And she is hoping that it will give her an important leg-up in her quest to forge a career in the theatre.
The 12-year-old impressed with renditions of On My Own from Les Miserables, and Why Do Fools Fall In Love, as sung by the likes of Diana Ross, The Four Seasons and Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers.
And mum Kathleen said the audience was stunned by the Orrell St Peter’s RC High School pupil’s vocal abilities.
“The judges couldn’t believe she could sing so well for her age,” said Kathleen. “One of them even said they could see her on the stage in the West End in future.”
Those comments would have certainly been warmly received by Katie, who dreams of being an actress.
Kathleen said: “She would love to be on that stage one day, she loves her musical theatre.”
Katie had been singing since the age of nine, but often suffered from nerves when performing - something that appears to rub off on her family.
“She entered the competition for the sake of her own confidence, but we were really nervous for her. She did really well though,” Kathleen added.
Katie even auditioned for the upcoming series of Britain’s Got Talent, but show runners agreed that she needed more confidence and urged her to return next year.
“We want her to enjoy performing,” Kathleen said.“I just hope her confidence keeps growing. She’s in the choir at school, and her music teacher wasn’t surprised at all when he found out she’s got through. So when she sees that other people have confidence in her, she has more confidence in herself.
“She’s only 12, but she’ll be amazed in herself after this. She just has to learn that the trade is all about confidence.”
The semi-finals of the competition will take place on April 22 at Bolton Market Place and family urging Wigan folk to come along and support Katie.
Should she be successful, she will progress to the final on May 13, where there will be a £10,000 prize up for grabs for the winner. But for Katie, it seems the real prize is one she’s already won - pride.