A Hartlepool woman - who came within an hour of death in a road accident - is celebrating reaching her 50th birthday in style.
Singer Gina Pontoni plans to mark it by holding a Las Vegas-style concert.
Just 11 years ago, Gina suffered nine broken ribs, a smashed skull, a punctured lung and her leg broken in 22 places in a car accident.
Doctors told her family she had an hour to live yet she battled through against all the odds.
Then, the popular singer who has appeared in Las Vegas, had to overcome another setback. She suffered damage to her vocal chords and was told there was only a ten per cent chance she would get her singing voice back. She needed four years of training to return to her best.
But now, she has reached her milestone 50th birthday and told the Hartlepool Mail: “I feel better than ever.”
I feel better than ever. I think it’s because I am like the bionic woman. I have got 20 pins in one leg and a new ceramic hip. I feel it is a privilege to still be here after what I have been throughGina Pontoni
She joked: “I think it’s because I am like the bionic woman. I have got 20 pins in one leg and a new ceramic hip. I feel it is a privilege to still be here after what I have been through.”
Gina is planning to hold a concert at the Borough Hall in Hartlepool on Friday, September 11 from 7.30pm. She will perform a range of entertainment including blues numbers and songs from the shoes. There will also be snacks included in the ticket price.
“I’m doing it for my 50th,” she said. “It is going to have a cabaret, Vegas feel and I want it to be a bit of a reunion with a lot of my friends who will also be 50 this year.”
The night will also include a raffle prizes such as perfumes, bottles of alcohol and lunches. Proceeds will go to the Miles for Men charity which raises money for Cancer Research.
The cause is close to Gina’s heart as her father John died aged 78 of lung cancer in 2000.
The concert will mark a return to singing for Gina who has spent much of her time recently in her business of tarot reading. She runs The Tarot Connection from premises above Salon D in York Road. She said Tarot Connection was doing so well, it was attracting clients from all over the region and occasional visitors from other parts of the UK.
But now comes her chance to return to the stage for one night. Tickets for the show are £18 from (01429) 279886.