Lorna's off to Albert Square

A DREAM has come true for one Northampton schoolgirl, who has just won her ticket to fame by landing a part in the hit TV soap EastEnders.

To many, soap characters Dot Cotton, Jim Branning and Bradley on the BBC show may seem like members of the family, but for 10-year-old Lorna Fitzgerald this will actually be the case.

Young Lorna, who lives in Hunsbury, last week started filming in her new role as Abi Branning, half-sister to Bradley and granddaughter to Jim.

She is set to hit the screens at the end of June, as part of a new family to move into Albert Square, alongside father Max – played by Jake Wood – and Jo Joyner, who is to play her mother, Tania.

Her real-life mother, Teresa Fitzgerald, said: "Personally, I feel I want to show how proud we are of her and to thank everyone who has prayed for her and helped her in any way."

This is the first major role for Lorna, although she has previously had parts in hospital drama Casualty.

She started acting classes at the age of four, before winning a part in a small film called Big Girl, Little Girl.

She later joined the Stagecoach Theatre Arts School in Stony Stratford, as well as Derngate Theatre School.

It was through her agent that she heard about the role in EastEnders and turned up to the BBC studios in London for the first of three auditions.

Mrs Fitzgerald, who has two other daughters, said: "At first, it is just the look they go for. Then it is more intensive and she had to read from a script.

"By the second audition, she was still up against 60 or 70 people."

She added: "You start thinking about it when she gets to the third audition, but when the agent rang up and said she had got the part it was an overwhelming feeling.

"You don't know what it means until that point."

Lorna will now face a hectic schedule of balancing life and school in Northampton with learning lines and filming in London.

Mrs Fitzgerald said: "It is exciting for her to be in something her friends may be watching. In the past, she has been in programmes they couldn't watch."