Busy Nicola still finds time to be Kings volunteer

1/2/12    MO   - WCDI''WCDI nominee Nicola Laing 42 who volunteers at The Kings Theatre''Picture: Paul Jacobs (120377-1)
1/2/12 MO - WCDI''WCDI nominee Nicola Laing 42 who volunteers at The Kings Theatre''Picture: Paul Jacobs (120377-1)

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After Nicola Laing was struck by a lorry and left with a broken ankle and ruptured cartilage in her foot, she was determined not to let it affect her life.

The ordeal was six years ago and she is still in constant pain. But that hasn’t stopped the mum-of-four becoming a volunteer at the Kings Theatre in Southsea, where she works as a member of the backstage crew.

During the panto season Nicola helped to put up the lights, get costumes ready and move props and scenery about in 43 out of 45 performances of Cinderella.

Nicola is also a full-time carer for her 16-year-old son Regan, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Nicola, of Peronne Road, Hilsea, says: ‘I’m in constant pain because of my ankle, whether I’m sat down or if I’m out and about.

‘So I figured it’s better to just get on with life and make the most of it.

‘There’s no point moping around.’

Nicola became a volunteer at the theatre two years ago after she and her husband Iain, 45, went along to an open day.

‘I didn’t have a huge interest in theatre and I had only been to a handful of shows before,’ she says.

‘But when we walked past the theatre one day we spotted an advert for its open day on the door.

‘So we went along and saw what it was all about. I was amazed by it all.

‘My husband knew Ian Pratt from the Kings Theatre Trust and he asked if I fancied coming along to help out in some of their shows.

‘It just went from there really.’

Now Nicola’s eldest daughter Samantha, 24, has joined her backstage.

Husband Iain, a naval Lieutenant Commander based at HMS Excellent on Whale Island, joins in when he can.

‘It’s great having the family on board,’ Nicola says.

‘I really love being a volunteer at the theatre. I can’t work full-time because of my ankle but it gives me something to do.

‘The shows are fantastic and it’s great meeting lots of new people.’

Remarkably, Nicola also finds the time and energy to run martial arts group Hampshire Choi-Kwang Do, which is based at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth.

Son Regan attends the classes in his wheelchair and he will also help do the lighting for Calamity Jane at the Kings Theatre in April.

Nicola says: ‘Looking after Regan can be a real emotional rollercoaster.

‘But I’m so proud of him.’