Partially deaf Attleborough student makes singing competition final

A talented school girl has made it through to the regional finals of a national singing competition despite a rare condition which left her partially deaf.

Alice King lost the hearing in her left ear after being diagnosed with a cholesteatoma last year - a painful and aggressive growth which destroys the delicate bones in the ear.

The 15-year-old, from Eccles, near Attleborough, underwent three surgeries in three months to remove the growth and reconstruct the bones.

But although some of her hearing has returned, her ear has been irreparably damaged and even a common ear infection can lead to a stay in hospital with doctors having to administer antibiotics via a drip.

The tough year demolished the aspiring singer's confidence as she struggled to hear the notes she was hitting and her dreams of making a career out of her passion seemed to fade.

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But the teenager, who is currently studying for her GCSEs at Attleborough High School, dusted off her worries and with the help of teachers at Norwich-based music school Ring 'n' Sing relearned how to sing with her new level of hearing.

This month Alice put her hard work to the test by travelling to Bedford to audition for the Open Mic UK competition - a national contest which searches for the country's top singers, rappers and vocalists of all genres which has previously uncovered talents such as popular 15-year-old songstress Birdy.

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In a nerve-wracking audition, which echoed scenes from an X Factor 'bootcamp', she had to sing alongside other auditionees in front of a panel of judges who whittled down the 300 hopefuls to just 25 regional finalists.

Successful Alice will return to Bedford to compete in the regional finals in October which could lead to a place in the national final where she will have the chance to sing in front of a large audience at The 02, in London, and be in the running for the top prize of a recording contract.

On getting through to the next stage, she said: 'I was so happy. I was very nervous and the whole while we were waiting to get called in it built up more and more.'

Alice, whose favourite singer is popstar Pixie Lott, added: 'I stopped singing when I was sick because I couldn't hear myself. Singing is everything. I sing all the time so when I couldn't do it, it was horrible.

'I had absolutely no confidence but it's getting better now.'

Her mum Roz Williams said: 'I'm very, very proud of her for battling on. After she had been ill she stopped singing and it was so nice to hear when she started again.'

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