A FORMER barrister has organised a special concert for health charity to thank nurses that helped him recover from a life-changing heart attack.

Proceeds from West Kirby Light Opera Society's The Rhythm Of Life Show – staged at Westbourne Hall in West Kirby on February 24-25 and created by Michael Kennedy – will go to Wirral Heart Beat, which assists the work of Wirral Heart Support Service at St Catherine’s Hospital in Birkenhead.

The show, featuring 40 members of WKLOS and 30 dancers from Wallasey School of ballet, will feature songs from shows including Les Miserables, My Fair Lady, Chess, High Society and The Witches of Eastwick, among many others.

Looking forward to raising funds for the charity, Michael told the Globe: "It is one which is dear to my heart as I suffered a serious heart attack in 2016, which forced my early retirement at the age of 54, after 33 years as a barrister.

"I have nothing but praise for the heart support services in Wirral. This is my way of saying thank you.

"It's going to be lovely show, celebrating the joy of being alive. So with that in mind, I’ve chosen a programme of songs that are lively and upbeat.

"For me, it's not a chance to raise much-needed funds for a life-saving cause, it also means I will get a chance to do what I love doing, performing on stage.

"The show's title sprang instantly to mind, given what I had been through.

"I really want as many of members of staff from the support to come and see the show, so we can pat them on the back from the stage, so to speak.

"We are having a matinee performance on the Sunday, so families can come along.

"The aim is to raise between £2,000 to £3,000 but it would be great to pass that barrier. There will also be a fundraising raffle.”

Recalling the heart attack, the Caldy-based actor and singer continued: "Before it happened, I always viewed myself as having good health.

"I was somebody who never went near the doctor unless I absolutely had to.

"The only time I'd been in a hospital was as a visitor; certainly never had any operations or procedures.

"Then suddenly, wholly out of the blue with no warning signs, I had this massive heart attack.

"It is a lesson for everybody really, I think, because you take your health for granted and never think it will happen to you; it happens to somebody else. It turned my life upside down.

"On the day it happened I was transported from Arrowe Park Hospital to Broadgreen in Liverpool and within half an hour was in the operating theatre.

"I was at Broadgreen for three weeks, was discharged and then referred to Wirral Heart Support Service at St Catherine’s Hospital in Birkenhead.

"It's just been a voyage, me and the NHS are the best of friends now. It's really opened my eyes and have nothing but praise for the way it operates.

"The whole experience taught me that I had very close escape. It came as massive shock, but there was massive outpouring of support from friends and family, which made you realise who you could count on.

"For example, I couldn’t drive, so people would very kindly take me places, buy things for in shops."

Praising Wirral Heart Support Centre, Michael added: "I had never set foot in the centre, but was blown away when I did.

"It's a really smart, state of the art place.

"They help you right the way through recovery. They also have talks on how how to manage your life after being diagnosed with cardio-vascular disease.

"I cannot speak highly enough of the staff there.

They are so professional, really dedicated to the jobs that they do and are very caring people.

"They really went out of their way to be as welcoming as they could be, to the point now, 15 months on, I will go to bump into them at St Cath's and they are really interested in how I'm getting on."

The Saturday, February 24 performance of The Rhythm Of Life starts at 7.30pm. There’s a Sunday matinee performance at 2.30pm.

Tickets, £12, are from 0151 342 2143 or www.ticketswirral.com