A TALENTED pupil from Abbey Junior School received the perfect birthday present when she was named the winner in her category of a music competition.

Alice Zhou won the Berkshire Youth Musician of the Year 2019 Strings competition on March 17, the day after her eighth birthday.

The young violinist, who attends the Reading school in Christchurch Road, took part in the contest at the Old Windsor, and was one of four finalists in the under 9s category.

She will be presented with her medal at a ceremony later this month.

Alice first picked up a violin when she was three, and has taken lessons for nearly two and a half years.

She said: "When I was told I had won, I felt a little bit surprised as everyone played very well.

"I was very happy - this is the first time I've won a prize playing the violin.

"I was very proud of myself.

"All my family like music.

"I became interested in the violin after my mum and dad took me to a music workshop when I was three.

"I tried to play a little violin and I heard some teachers playing it.

"It was a beautiful sound and I really enjoyed it.

"When I was five my mum took me to a musical instrument shop and as I liked both the piano and the violin so my mum bought them for me.

"I began to learn how to play both of them and have practised ever since."

Alice was the youngest finalist in her age group and won after playing Romance and Intermezzo – both grade 5 pieces.

The Berkshire Young Musician of the Year 2019 Strings competition is run by Berkshire Maestros, in partnership with Windsor Festival 2019.