King’s Lynn girl who lives to dance is back on stage after open heart surgery
Little Talisha Cooper lives to dance and has been moving to music for as long as she has walked.
She started competing aged just five but her dancing ambitions suffered a setback when she had major heart surgery at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital last September.
But the brave eight-year-old, from King's Lynn, was back on stage 10 days after her operation to introduce her fellow dancers from Lynn-based Alison's Street Dance Club.
And her determination was rewarded after being picked for the England street dancing team to compete at the European Championships in Slovenia in July and the World Championships in Germany in October, to the delight of her parents Keely Cobb and Gareth Cooper.
Miss Cobb said: 'We are very proud of her and are just buzzing at the moment because we really didn't expect her to get picked for Team England. I can remember just being in complete shock when she found out she had been picked and we can't wait to go.'
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The South Wootton Junior School pupil was born with a hole in the heart and underwent an operation last September after a scan revealed the hole had got bigger.
Miss Cobb continued: 'We were down at Great Ormond Street for a week. The aftercare were received after the operation was brilliant. We can't thank the staff there enough for what they have done for us.
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'It's incredible to think she had an operation less than a year ago and now she is dancing for England.'
Talisha will be joined by six of her fellow dancers from Alison's Street Dance Club to represent England at both championships.
The dancers aged between eight and 14 are Ella Harvey, Dolcie Simmons, Poppy Gill, Tegan McLatchie-Brown, Emily Davis and Conor McLatchie-Brown. They all competed against 1,500 other dancers to earn a spot on the national team which included performing at London's O2 Arena. Talisha said: 'I am very happy to make the team because I love to dance. I was happy to get into the team because it was hard and there were some good dancers. My mum and dad are very proud of me.'
The dance troupe will be able to limber up and practice for the European championships at Hunstanton's Lifestyles Festival this weekend.
Alison McLatchie was delighted seven dancers from her street dance club have made the national team.
She said: 'I'm ecstatic because it is such a hard competition to get through. The standard was amazing and they will be joining some amazing dancers out there.
'They all had to audition to get into the team which was quite tough and then they had to see off children from across the country to get to the O2 and then they were up against the cream of the crop and still got through.
'It's an amazing feat but they know the hard work is still ahead of them.'