Luton songbird Kerry George is back on track after a rare illness nearly put paid to her dreams of a career in showbusiness.
The former Ashcroft High student is pinning her hopes on making it to the Open Mic Grand Final at the 02 in London.
But first she’s taking part in the regional finals at Milton Keynes on Saturday (October 12).
“I’m so excited I want to give it my best shot,” she said. “I just hope I can impress the judges.”
It’s hard to believe that only two years ago the 27-year-old was warned she might never perform again after being diagnosed with the little known Guillain Barre Syndrome.
She was in Manchester playing blonde bimbo Miss Lily St Regis alongside Su Pollard in the touring production of the hit musical Annie.
“Su’s such a lovely lady,” Kerry said. “And she’s just as whacky in real life as she is on TV – what you see is what you get.
“She’s an old school professional, a complete inspiration, someone who never misses a performance.”
Which is perhaps why Kerry felt a little embarrassed going home to Luton one Saturday night after the show.
“I was feeling a bit run down,” she explained. “But when I woke up my legs were numb. I couldn’t feel anything.”
She struggled back to Manchester two days later but had to go to A&E because she felt so odd.
It took two weeks before doctors discovered what was wrong with her. Little is known about the condition which attacks the central nervous system and can have long term complications.
Luckily Kerry responded to an intensive course of medication.
“I was told it could take a year to recover and I might never perform at the same standard,” she recalled.
“But I was so determined to get well. I did lots of physio and willed myself better.”
She took a job on a cruise ship on the Med and absolutely loved it but when her contract ended decided to stay closer to home.
She said: “I’ve been gigging in and around Luton. I won a talent competition at G Casino and I’ve also appeared at Bar 32 in Park Street and the Bird and Bush in Bushmead.”
She sang Midnight Train to Georgia acapella style at an open audition for Open Mic UK 2013 and was one of 25 to get through to the regional finals on Saturday.
If she wins, she’ll be one step nearer the top prize of £5,000 and a recording contract.