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Hollywood beckons for Dublin girl

Schoolgirl Holly Gregg is set to see her name in lights after landing a starring role in the big budget feature film The Last Furlong.

The Herald can reveal the talented six-year-old from Clondalkin, Dublin, has agreed to lose all of her hair for the role, which will see her portray the emotional battle her character Laura faces as a young cancer patient.

The budding starlet, who was cast for the project through Talented Kids Performing Arts School and Agency, will have her head shaved next week.

Holly's mother Caroline told the Herald: "It's not something you take on lightly, I had mixed emotions about it and I really did give it a lot of thought before I agreed to allow her do it.

"This is Holly's first big role and at the end of the day the decision was in her hands. She's a very bright, determined child and it was explained to her fully that she would have to lose her hair in order to do it.

"Her first question was 'Will it grow back?' and once I explained to her that it would she decided she would like to say yes."

The Dublin mother went on to reveal how Holly's big break will be particularly poignant for her own family, as she has lost several close relatives to the disease.

Caroline said: "It's going to be difficult for my family to watch as we've had our fair share of experience with cancer over the years.

"My Dad actually died of cancer and my two sisters, one was aged 11 and the other was aged 50.

"I think it's very important for the dangers and effects of cancer to be highlighted and this film will definitely get the word out there. I'm so proud of Holly for being so brave. We all are."

With the help of her agent Maureen Ward, Holly has decided to appeal to the public to sponsor her head shave, with all funds raised going towards Our Ladies Children's Hospital Crumlin and the Irish Cancer Society. She will donate her hair to the Locks of Love Foundation.

Gaelscoil na Camoige pupil Holly said: "I had very long hair before but I had it cut up short with a fringe last week," she said. "I'm very excited about the film but I'm a little bit nervous. Once my hair grows back afterwards I won't mind."

Holly, who appeared in Mill Theatre's Fluffy's Xmas Factor show last Christmas, is due to begin filming on May 24.

The project will be shot at Ardmore studios in Wicklow, as well as locations overseas, and will be directed by John Conroy, who recently worked on Hollywood romantic comedy Leap Year.