Cromer pier show star Lulu Alexandra is new ice skating champion
A singer who starred in a Norfolk Christmas show has gone on to add another wintry string to her bow - by becoming a figure skating champion.
And the triumph by Lulu Alexandra, who was lead female vocalist in Cromer Pier's festive variety show, was all the more remarkable because she was knocked down by a car - suffering injuries, post-traumatic stress and shock-induced amnesia - just weeks before the finals.
Lulu, who is Britain's number three figure skater and turned to showbusiness after suffering double stress fractures of her legs from skating back in 1997, now combines the two skills. During the winter she split her time between the Cromer show and skate training at Norwich and back home in Essex to prepare for the championships.
But during a visit to Chelmsford she was hit by a car while crossing the road.
'The car hit my left side; I flipped over the bonnet, hit the windscreen, then rolled off into the road. It was awful,' she recalled.
'My immediate thought was panic for the show! Here I was lying in the road back home, knowing that the following day I had to be on stage in Cromer.
'Thankfully, everyone at the theatre was very understanding. I had to miss a couple of shows, but as any actor knows the show must go on, so after a few days I got back to Cromer and gently eased my way back in.'
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She praised the close knit cast for their help, adding 'I will never quite know how I got through those last few shows as I don't really remember any of my time in Cromer now. I have a big black hole from December through to the end of January where my brain went into shock to try and process what happened.'
When she returned to more intense skate training after the show finished she realised she had developed a fear of falling, 'which for a skater is ridiculous', said Lulu.
After physiotherapy, trauma counselling and gym sessions to get fit again - physically and emotionally - she was feeling better when the championships arrived, but still needed a chaperone to help overcome the memory loss and keep her focused on the variety of routines.
Despite momentary panics she skated a clean session to take silver for the artistic section, improvised her way to a win in the exhibition section before doing a personal best in the free programme, complete with spins and jumps, to take the lead and win overall.
'I was so happy - I couldn't believe it! All that hard work, the accident, the recovery, the pain..... it was all worth it for the one moment,' said Lulu.
Cromer Pier theatre manager Ian Hall said: 'It was amazing that Lulu managed to get through Christmas Seaside Special at all following her horrific accident, but she was well looked after by the cast and crew here and to then go on to win the British Figure Skating Championships is simply fantastic'