A TALENTED classical singer wowed judges and booked her place in the semi-finals of a televised competition.

Alexandra Bell-Cobbold, 14, was one of five girls selected for the BBC Young Chorister of the Year contest.

Radio 2 and Songs of Praise have joined forces to find the best young talent and Alexandra sealed her place after sending a video audition of two classical pieces, filmed in July.

The initial entrance list consisted of hundreds of youngsters representing some of the most prestigious cathedrals, churches and schools from across the UK.

Alexandra’s semi-final will be aired on BBC 1 at 2.15pm on Sunday.

Alexandra, from Colchester, was mentored by superstar soprano Katherine Jenkins and the final is being screened over Christmas.

She said: “When I received the fantastic news I’d made it through to the semis, I was absolutely thrilled.

“It was like I’d won the lottery, being given this amazing opportunity to take part in and sing on the show and be mentored by Katherine.

“It was so unexpected and I couldn’t believe it.

“I’d entered last year and didn’t get through, as the standards are very high and I’m not from a cathedral choir.

“However, I’d love to join one because I adore choral repertoire, as well as Italian opera and classical genres.”

Alexandra was initially shortlisted by a music industry panel and thrilled to have made it to the semi-finals, being one of only five girls.

Her semi-final is being aired on Sunday, with the boys’ show being broadcast the following Sunday, November 29. They will be mentored by Aled Jones.

Now Alexandra is hoping to fly the flag for Colchester and Essex.

Three contestants will go forward to the final, being screened on December 6.

Unseen auditions and other key highlights of the show will be aired throughout the day on BBC Radio 3.

The Ipswich High School (formerly GDST for girls) student Alexandra has been singing since she was seven and hopes to become a professional opera singer.

“The filming took place in Manchester and in Kent in September, just after lockdown ended,” she added.

She said: “It was an amazing experience and the staff of the show were wonderful.”They really looked after us all but, unfortunately, we were sworn to secrecy about the exact location and other aspects.”However, all will be revealed when the programme airs on Sunday.”This experience is a dream for me.”

“I’ve been singing for some time now and have had some wonderful voice coaches during that time, all of whom have been incredibly supportive.

“I’m so pleased things are finally beginning to take off after so many years of hard work.

“As mum always says, if you believe, work hard and persevere you can achieve your dreams.”

Alexandra is also a keen swimmer enjoying regional and county success - and a member of Colchester Harriers Athletics Club.

She also competes in triathlons and feels her sporting endeavours go hand in hand with her singing.

“Both definitely help,” said the former pupil at Colchester’s Oxford House School

“They help in terms of supporting great vocal and physical heath which you need for singing.”