Former Mandeville School student wins national award as part of barbershop quartet

A former pupil at the Mandeville School in Aylesbury has won gold at a women's barbershop quartet competition.

Karen Lillywhite, 22, who is a member of barbershop quartet Avalon, won gold at the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers convention.

Barbershop quartet Avalon - the team includes former Mandeville School pupil Karen Lillywhite (third from left)

Barbershop quartet Avalon - the team includes former Mandeville School pupil Karen Lillywhite (third from left)

The quartet took the top prize at the national competition in Harrogate in 2018, having finished with a bronze the previous year.

The group met at the University of Bristol in 2017 while completing music degrees at the university with Karen part of the group alongside Boo de Bruin, Helen Warner and Sophie Wilson.

The 2018 competition was a close run thing with only 0.8 points between third place and first place.

Avalon scooped two awards - one for best performance and another for overall winner.

Karen Lillywhite (right) and friend Holly Deegan with their GCSE results at Mandeville School in 2012 - the photo featured on our front page at the time

Karen Lillywhite (right) and friend Holly Deegan with their GCSE results at Mandeville School in 2012 - the photo featured on our front page at the time

They also received a cheque for £1,000 between them which they will put towards funding a trip to a US convention in 2020.

Avalon celebrated with a quick after show party with previous quartet winners, before turning their attentions to another competition the following day.

Former Mandeville School pupil Karen won a solo singing competition while in Year Ten at the school before joining the Aylesbury Grammar School Big Band.

Karen said: "When I got to university I knew I had to continue my passion for singing.

"I got into it by chance - Bristol University Music Society had various groups.

"I was part of six different groups at one stage however I loved learning acapella."

Speaking about the competition Karen added: "We weren't expecting to win any medals - we only placed fourth for the preliminary quartet series.

"There were 16 teams in the semis which got whittled down ahead of the final."

Karen appeared on The Bucks Herald's front page with friend Holly Deegan on the day she collected their GCSE results in 2012.

She then went on to Sixth Form at Aylesbury High School before going on to the University of Bristol.