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'I want to give other actors who are disabled the heads-up this can be done'

Kim Taylforth, 63, is a familiar face on screen and in Peterborough panto - but a frightening time in 2017 means her return to The Cresset stage is more meaningful than ever.
Kim Taylforth in costume for her role as the Good Fairy in The Cresset's Beauty and the Beast

Speaking to Peterborough Matters at the launch of Beauty and the Beast, which is running at The Cresset from December 11-30, Taylforth revealed that a virus rendered her paralysed from the waist down and having to learn how to walk again.

She said: "In 2017, my spinal cord was hit by a virus and I was paralysed from the waist down.

"I was in hospital for a long, long time and had to go through intense physiotherapy to learn to walk again. It took me two years."

She was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, which is an inflammation of the spinal cord that has no cure, although many people make a recovery.

Describing the time as "very frightening", Taylforth said she was now registered disabled and 65% paralysed - but that she wanted to bring attention to her disability by talking about it ahead of the show.

"I want to give a kind of hope to other disabled children or people that you can do this if you really put your mind to it," she said. 

"I'm terrified of falling over on stage, losing my balance, that sort of thing. I think they're going to make me a staff that can keep me steady.
"But I want to give other people, other actors who are disabled, the heads-up that it can be done."

The rehearsals for the family show began at the start of the month, with Taylforth stepping into the role of the Good Fairy having played the Wicked Queen in the same show in 2009.

Relishing the role of the nice character for a change, the Bad Girls actor said she was "really grateful" to director and producer Stuart Morrison for the opportunity to return to the Peterborough pantomime.