Published On: Sun, May 9th, 2021

Linda Nolan performed to hundreds of people hours after being diagnosed with cancer

Linda Nolan has revealed she performed to a 1000-strong crowd hours after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005.

The singer, 62, was playing the Wicked Witch in Belfast Grand Opera House’s run of Snow White and was given her cancer diagnosis after a matinee performance.

After being given the horrible news, Linda returned to the venue – which boasts a 1063 person capacity – for the evening performance, explaining: ‘I went and did the last three shows [as] nobody can do the part because they don’t do understudies in panto.’

Brave: Linda Nolan, 62, has revealed she performed to a 1000-strong crowd hours after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005

Speaking on The Andy Jaye Podcast, Linda – who was accompanied by her late husband Brian Hudson to the doctor’s – revealed that she scheduled a mastectomy just days after taking to the stage.

‘I was in Belfast doing pantomime and I had to go for my results in ­between shows on the Friday,’ she explained.

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

‘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.’

Work: At the time, Linda was playing the Wicked Witch in Belfast Grand Opera House's run of Snow White (pictured during a separate pantomime performance)

Work: At the time, Linda was playing the Wicked Witch in Belfast Grand Opera House’s run of Snow White (pictured during a separate pantomime performance)

Linda said that Brian suggested she cancel her evening appearance in the show.

‘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?”‘

However brave Linda decided to perform that night.

‘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”.

Husband: Linda's late husband Brian Hudson accompanied her to the doctor's appointment (pictured together in 1984)

Husband: Linda’s late husband Brian Hudson accompanied her to the doctor’s appointment (pictured together in 1984)

‘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”.’

She added: ‘By the Thursday, I had an appointment to have the mastectomy. It was three days before my birthday.’

Linda – who was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time in 2005 – recently opened up about how she struggled with hearing her cancer diagnosis without all of her sisters by her side due to Covid restrictions.

The singer was told by her consultant that the cancer in her breast and hip has now spread to her liver, meaning they could only manage it but not cure it.

Linda heard the news just 30 minutes after her sister Anne, 70, had called her to tell her she had been diagnosed with breast cancer after discovering a lump.

In an extract from their new book Linda & Anne: Stronger Together published in the Mirror she told how she feared burdening her family with the diagnosis after Anne had already shared her heartbreaking news.

However a few days later she decided she had to tell someone and confided in her sister Maureen, 66, about what the doctor had said.

Tragic: Linda heard the news just 30 minutes after her sister Anne, 70, had called her to tell her she had been diagnosed with breast cancer after discovering a lump.

Tragic: Linda heard the news just 30 minutes after her sister Anne, 70, had called her to tell her she had been diagnosed with breast cancer after discovering a lump.

Linda wrote: ‘Mo called the others and then they all phoned me and said: ‘We would be there in a heartbeat but we can’t because of Covid.’

‘Being told I had cancer during the lockdown was much worse than previous times because they couldn’t put their arms around me.’

Linda explained following the call from her doctor she went in for an appointment and they told her it was incurable and that she would receive ‘palliative chemo’.

She said: ‘Seeing it written down makes it real, that it’s to buy me time. It was awful. I got sad thinking about the children – nieces, nephews, grandchildren – will I see them grow up? And then I gave myself a good talking to.’

Fear: Linda told how she feared burdening her family with the diagnosis after Anne had already shared her heartbreaking news

Fear: Linda told how she feared burdening her family with the diagnosis after Anne had already shared her heartbreaking news

Linda said she vowed to herself at the time not to let the worry destroy however much of her life she has left.

Despite her positive attitude, Linda recently confessed she is terrified of dying as she awaits the results of her latest CT scan to see if her cancer has spread.

She opened up about her cancer battle with Ok! magazine as she revealed she has another scan coming up soon.

The star was first diagnosed with stage three cancer in 2005 after finding a lump in her breast, but was given the all clear a year later.

However 10 years later she discovered the cancer had spread to her hip, before also being found in her liver in May 2020.

Offering an update on her treatment, she said: ‘I have a CT scan coming up and after that, I’ll get the results from my oncologist.

‘Every time, I worry if it’s spread again. I’m scared of dying. There’s so much to live for. You realise that when you’ve been through all that I have. Every day is a gift.’

Linda revealed she has to take four chemotherapy tables first thing in the morning and then another four before bed.

Family: The Nolan Sisters are pictured in 1981 [back left to right Maureen, Anne and the late Bernie, front left to right Linda and Denise]

Family: The Nolan Sisters are pictured in 1981 [back left to right Maureen, Anne and the late Bernie, front left to right Linda and Denise]

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