Tricia Penrose - My inspirational mum and my Corrie dream

PUBLISHED: 13:48 05 August 2014

Tricia Penrose

Tricia Penrose

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Four years ago Adlington's Tricia Penrose took a step back from acting and singing to help her mum through cancer treatment. Now she is taking inspiration from her mum's fighting spirit to prepare for a return to the entertainment industry

Tricia Penrose and mum, SueTricia Penrose and mum, Sue

She is known to many as cheery barmaid, Gina, who pulled pints at the Aidensfield Arms in the drama series Heartbeat. But smiles have been a little more difficult to come by for the past four years for Tricia Penrose. When the 44-year-old heard mum Sue’s broken voice on the end of the phone, her world crumbled around her – her mum had stage three lung cancer.

Tricia, who lives in Adlington with husband Mark, and their sons Jake, 11 and Freddy, five, said: ‘I remember the phone call. My mum just cried out “I’ve got lung cancer”. I literally collapsed right there on the floor. We cried and talked it over for hours.’

It was Tricia who had first noticed her mum’s face looked sunken when she was doing her make-up one day. A short time later Sue got pneumonia and it was then doctors found a shadow on her lung. Sue was told she had just weeks to live.

Tricia continued: ‘It was horrible to hear. At best, people with stage three lung cancer are lucky to live for a year. I didn’t know what to do, this was my mum. I ended up with terrible depression and was on anti-depressants for a while.

‘We had been told to prepare for the worst and when she was having treatment my mum wanted to plan her funeral. I just cried all the time. It was my mum who told me to snap out of it because I have a beautiful family and lots to be happy about. We’re four years in now and my mum is doing really well. She is an absolute miracle, an absolute inspiration.’

Despite the challenges the mother and daughter have faced together, there have also been things to celebrate. Tricia and Mark, a television presenter turned property developer, recently renewed their vows at The Windmill, near their home.

Tricia has also helped to raise thousands of pounds for different charities, including The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, children’s charity When You Wish Upon A Star and The Christie, who are treating Sue.

Tricia, originally from Liverpool, is now looking ahead to a positive future. She is determined to use the same spirit her mum has shown to spur 
her on.

She said: ‘I just have that feeling, that feeling that something good is around the corner. It’s hard to describe, it’s just a feeling I have. We have had a lot to deal with these past few years and things are improving and I feel we deserve something good to happen now.’

During her career break Tricia, who used to sing in duo Second Image with her mum, has appeared on a few shows including Celebrity Big Brother earlier this year – an experience she doesn’t care to repeat. But she has recently been filming a new programme with former Boyzone star Brian McFadden called Who’s Doing the Dishes and there have been several requests coming in to her agent.

Tricia would love to land a dream job on Coronation Street as well as finally accept the offer to play Mrs Johnstone in Willy Russell’s iconic musical Blood Brothers.

‘I feel ready now,’ she said. ‘I played Gina for 18 years so that is a massive part of me but I would love to something different. The touring version of Blood Brothers would be amazing. I love the show so much and I would still be able to be at home with my family rather than having to be in London. I couldn’t bear to be away from them.

‘Coronation Street would be amazing too. Who wouldn’t want to be on it? I’m just very excited now to see what is going to happen in the future. I’m really hoping for good times ahead.’

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