The mother of a young woman with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer has said her family is “beside themselves with excitement” that Peter Kay will return to the stage for charity gigs in her honour.
The comedian, who has been largely absent from the public eye for the last three years, will host two live Q&As in aid of student Laura Nuttall, 21, from Barrowford near Nelson, who has glioblastoma multiforme.
Her mother Nicola and father Mark first met Kay when they were working at Granada television almost two decades ago and said they received an unexpected call from him in January 2019 after Laura was diagnosed.
Nicola, who was working in HR at Granada and now runs a children’s play centre, told the PA news agency: “He just called up out of the blue and said, ‘How can I help?’ So we’ve met with him a few times, we’ve been out for lunch with him, but obviously Covid put paid to any fundraising that we can do.
“So now, the coast is clear and it’s all happened in a bit of a flurry but it’s phenomenal. We’re so excited about it. And it’s so wonderful he can do this for us, just incredible.”
The shows will take place at the O2 Apollo Manchester on August 7 and tickets go on sale on July 30 at 9am.
Nicola added: “Laura is having immunotherapy in Germany, a treatment that we can’t get in the UK. There is very, very little treatment available for glioblastoma.
“She’s also having a dendritic cell vaccination, which is where cells from the tumour that was removed from Laura are turned into a vaccine to educate the body as to what they need to be looking at, in a very basic sense, and each vaccine in that programme is £27,000.
“It’s five grand to transport the tissue and everything is just so expensive. And getting out to Germany is virtually impossible as well.
“So it will enable us to carry on going down this route and keeping Laura well, because she’s doing brilliantly at the moment, but also to raise awareness for the Brain Tumour Charity and do some fundraising for them as well at the same time.”
Laura, who has just completed her second year at Manchester University, where she is studying philosophy, politics and economics, will be in attendance at the Q&As with her family, and Nicola said: “We are beside ourselves of excitement.
“She is slightly too young to know just how amazing it is to see Peter Kay live. She’s only seen clips on YouTube, although spending a few hours in his company you are literally holding on to your face because it hurts so much from laughing.
“He’s genuinely just the funniest person imaginable. And such a kind gentleman as well.”
The Q&As mark a rare public appearance for Kay, who has been largely absent from the spotlight for the last three years.
Nicola said: “It’s a massive privilege, a real honour. Especially because it’s not happened for a while.”
The GoFundMe page for Laura has already raised almost £160,000.