Monday 23 October 2017

Singing star Susan had first opportunity at Knock

Scottish charity worker Susan Boyle Photo: Getty Images
Scottish charity worker Susan Boyle Photo: Getty Images

Paddy Clancy

Singing sensation Susan Boyle, who last week sprang to worldwide fame following a performance on the 'Britain's Got Talent' ITV show, honed her angel voice in the basilica at Knock.

The 47-year-old, whose parents Patrick and Bridget were Irish, has been a regular pilgrim to the Marian Shrine where she loved to join in the singing.

Many of her own neighbours in the village of Blackburn in West Lothian, Scotland, heard her heavenly voice for the first time when she joined them on the annual Legion of Mary pilgrimage to the Co Mayo shrine.

Neither her neighbours in Our Lady of Lourdes parish nor her priest, Father Basil Clark, were surprised at the beauty of her voice when they heard her sing 'I Dreamed a Dream' from the musical 'Les Miserables'.

The unknown's performance stunned the show judges, including Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan, and brought them to their feet with excitement.

Susan was an instant worldwide success, attracting more than 30 million viewers by yesterday to a YouTube clip of her performance.


Whether she wins the TV talent contest or not, she is predicted to have a number one album and is already being lined up for a world tour.

Fr Clark, who watched the show at his home in Broxburn, near Susan's village, was not surprised.

He said he witnessed similar scenes during the regular Knock pilgrimages.

"When I watched the judges' faces it reminded me of what I was like when I first saw Susan singing. I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the singing and by that fantastic voice," he said.

Father Clark said that local people who knew Susan were enormously proud of her but were slightly worried about the sudden fame.

The priest added: "I think it's great at one level. It might just be the thing that will make her, but she is a very vulnerable person and it could be quite difficult."

Unmarried Susan is the youngest in a family of nine and her learning difficulties stemmed from being starved of oxygen at birth.

She said she had never been kissed and has lived alone with her cat since her mother died in 2007.

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