A WIRRAL couple producing a play based on a work by the author Helen Forrester say the show will go on after a life-saving kidney donation.

Rob Fennah and Lynn McDermott, both from New Brighton, work as a team producing plays with Rob's theatre company.

They were mid-way through rehearsals for By The Waters of Liverpool when Lynn got the news that she needed a new kidney.

Lynn was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease 30 years ago and always knew she would one day need a transplant.

But she never expected it to come from long-term partner Rob.

He explained: "It was a no-brainer. Lynn means everything to me.

"Transplant doctors said I wasn't a perfect match, but that they could do the operation."

Rob and Lynn had surgery in March 2023, and unbelievably, managed to keep it a secret from the cast and crew.

Lynn said: "For me, the show just had to go on. We have a cast and crew that we want to look after. We wanted to make sure that the show went on, no matter what.

"We kept it quiet because we didn't want to worry anyone."

Rob and Lynn broke the news to the company during a rehearsal read-through this week, which left many of them stunned.

The stage play, based on the million-selling book by author Helen Forrester, features a host of famous faces, including former Coronation Street star Tom Roberts and Emmerdale's Joe Gill.

It began a 17-venue UK tour in 2020, spanning almost three months – however, the curtain came down just two weeks in as the country went into a national lockdown.

The tour opens with a three-night run and concludes with six days at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton from October 24 to 29 – just a few miles from where Helen Forrester was born in Hoylake.

The production will also visit venues in Crewe, Coventry, Sale, Rhyl, Darlington, Lichfield, St Helens, Southport, Halifax, and Lytham.

This new stage version is based on the book of the same name by Liverpool-born Helen.

Her portrayal of her life story continues to delight fans around the world through her four autobiographical works: Twopence To Cross The Mersey, Liverpool Miss, By The Waters of Liverpool and Lime Street At Two.

The production has had its share of setbacks. It was meant to take place in 2020, but the 12-week, 17-venue tour was abandoned after visiting only three theatres due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wirral Globe: 'By The Waters of Liverpool' cast 'By The Waters of Liverpool' cast (Image: Anthony Robling)

The tour was then scheduled to open this year with 15 performances at the historic Epstein Theatre in Liverpool city centre. However, the venue’s management team announced it would close at the end of June 2023 due to funding cuts.

The cast is now in rehearsals ahead of its opening at 'The Auditorium’ at M&S Bank Arena from Monday, September 4 to Wednesday, September 6. Tickets here  

It will then make a brief appearance on Wirral when it opens for three nights only at The Gladstone Theatre – Tuesday, 12 – Thursday 14. Tickets here 

The production then goes on a nationwide tour.

Lynn and Rob now want to reassure others who may be on a transplant journey with their loved ones.

Lynn said: "We just want to make sure that we manage to get the play on and show people that nothing will stop us from getting that show on the road". 

Wirral Globe: Rob Fennah and co-producer Lynn McDermott together with co-producer, Bill ElmsRob Fennah and co-producer Lynn McDermott together with co-producer, Bill Elms (Image: Rob Fennah / Pulse Records Limited)

Rob added: "It wasn't anywhere near as scary as we thought it was going to be. We were out of hospital before we knew it and getting on with our new life.

"if anyone out there in this situation they shouldn’t panic. Lynn and I are living proof that life carries on as normal."