Former City of Bath College student Gabrielle Aplin topped the charts today with her haunting version of The Power of Love.
The 20-year-old’s incredible success came on a weekend that saw former Writhlington School pupil Jahmene Douglas become runner-up on TV’s X Factor.
Gabrielle’s cover of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood classic has given retailer John Lewis its first ever chart-topper.
The singer persuaded the firm to let her audition for its famous Christmas TV adverts, and her distinctive voice won bosses over.
The heartwarming festive campaign centres around a snowman who embarks on an epic journey to find the perfect gift for his snowwoman.
On Facebook, Gabrielle, whose family come from Sutton Benger near Chippenham, said: “We actually did it, I am the official UK number 1! And it’s all thanks to you guys for getting behind me and supporting this release. Who would’ve thought it eh :) cant thank you all enough x”
The single has sold more than 220,000 copies since its release last month.
John Lewis marketing director, Craig Inglis, said: “Music is an integral part of John Lewis’ TV advertising, and we’ve had some great success over the last few years, but our first number one with Gabrielle is truly fantastic. She is a very special artist and we hope that she goes on from strength to strength after this incredible achievement.”
Meanwhile, Jahmene, who grew up in Peasedown St John and is also a former City of Bath College student, was gracious in defeat after losing out to victor James Arthur.
The 22-year-old, who performed the Beatles’ Let it Be, said: “It was such a blessing to share this stage with such a talent.”
Afterwards judge Louis Walsh told Jahmene, who had been working at Asda in Swindon: “You were born to sing not to be in a supermarket.”
Take That singer Gary Barlow told Jahmene: “You have an unbelievable voice and talent.”
City of Bath College principal Matt Atkinson congratulated the pair on their incredible success.
He said: "We are tremendously proud of both of our rising stars.
"Gabrielle, who left us last summer, has a rare voice and is an insightful songwriter. Everyone at the college and BA1 Records is delighted she is achieving the success she deserves. Gabrielle is talented and hard-working but remains very down to earth and has always been a pleasure to work with.
"Jahmene’s voice is a nice surprise. He studied construction with us in 2008 before moving from Peasedown to Swindon. We have been following his progress on X Factor and don’t doubt he will become a major recording star despite been pipped to first place. I understand that Simon Cowell is impressed with Jahmene's falsetto vocal and is planning to give him a recording contract regardless.
"Staff and students at the college wish both of our former students every success in their singing careers."