A busker, who frequently performed on a bustling South Kensington street opposite her local pub, has won a national talent competition and bagged £5,000 after performing alongside headliner Razorlight at the O2, London.

Having moved from her home town of Leicester to study Popular Music at Middlesex University, 24-year-old Nuala Bennett-Wilford began busking across the road from the Hoop & Toy on Thurloe Place alongside her studies. Upon graduating, she started working at a local supermarket but decided to leave so that she could pursue her dream of singing and songwriting full-time.

General Manager at the Hoop & Toy, Nigel Corcoran, noticed the crowds that Nuala would attract, with many singing along and even dancing on their way to work. Recognising her raw talent, he invited her to compete in Greene King’s Live at your Local talent competition with a performance at the Hoop & Toy. She then beat off thousands of entrants and made it through to the regional heats, before going head to head in an online vote, to be chosen as a finalist in the music talent competition.

As part of the live final at the Indigo O2, London, which took place on Friday (18 August), Razorlight performed as a special guest during the competition. Nuala competed against eight acts for the chance of winning £5,000, her weight in beer and a day in a recording studio; as well as having her track added to the playlist of more than 1,000 Greene King pubs.

Nuala said: “I literally can’t believe I have won, there were so many talented musicians in the competition. It was amazing to perform at the Indigo with Razorlight - it really was a once in a lifetime experience.

“I’ve been busking over the road from the Hoop & Toy for over a year and the support I have received from the pub team has been fantastic. I’m so grateful to have been spotted whilst performing and invited to enter. I can’t wait to get into the recording studio and to have my track played in Greene King pubs across the country is mind blowing!”

Nigel Corcoran, general manager at the Hoop & Toy, said: “We have been eagerly waiting for the result so we’re so pleased to hear Nuala has won. She really deserves it. She was absolutely phenomenal when she auditioned here and we look forward to welcoming her back to the pub again soon.”

Razorlight perform at Greene King's Live at Your Local final at the O2