Linda Nolan told she had cancer hours before brave pantomime performance

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“I was dressed as the Wicked Queen so it was a bit of a worry for them when I walked in!”

Linda was first diagnosed in 2006
Linda was first diagnosed in 2006

Linda Nolan was told she had cancer after a matinee panto show before bravely going back to work in the evening.

The 62-year-old, who continues to fight the disease, ­received her diagnosis while dressed as the Wicked Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Five days later, she was arranging her mastectomy.

Linda, raised in Blackpool and later found fame with her sisters in 1970s group The Nolans, told ­radio host Andy Jaye how she hid her fears from her co-stars and the audience.

She said: “I was in Belfast doing pantomime and I had to go for my results in ­between shows on the Friday.

“I was dressed as the Wicked Queen so it was a bit of a worry for them when I walked in!

“I was told then it was breast cancer. It was stage three, and I’d have to have a mastectomy and chemotherapy.

“I remember as he [the doctor] was saying these things, I’m looking down on him. The minute he said the word ‘cancer’, it was as if I’d left the room.

“My ­husband Brian was there and he was going greyer by the second. In fact, they had to give him water and not me. He was so devastated.

“He said to me when we got outside – and I obviously cried – ‘Shall I call them and tell them you can’t come in for the second show?’

“And I said, ‘No, we’ve got two nights left, nobody can really do the part I am doing because they don’t do understudies in panto, and it won’t make any difference to the diagnosis’.

“I said, ‘The only thing is, you cannot be standing in the wings ­because if I see you, it will be like a reality check and I will cry’.

“So I went and did the last three shows and we had a party after the one on Saturday.

“By the Thursday, I had an appointment to have the mastectomy.

“It was three days before my birthday.”

Linda – who has recently written a book called Stronger Together with her sister Anne, who also has cancer – was first diagnosed with the disease in 2006.

The following year she lost her husband to skin cancer.

After a fall in 2017, Linda discovered her cancer had spread to her pelvis, before learning it was in her liver last year.