A HARTLEPOOL singer who fought back from the brink of death after a car accident is passing on her skills - as a tarot reader.
Ten years ago, Gina Pontoni was in the intensive care unit of a Bolton hospital.
She had been out with her friend when her car was involved in an accident on the M61 in Lancashire. Witnesses said her vehicle spun around in the air three times before landing on its roof.
Her injuries were horrific but brave Gina has bounced back to relaunch her career - and now plans to pass on the skills she first learned as a child.
She is holding tarot sessions for beginners from this Sunday at Fitness Connexion in Brenda Road in Hartlepool.
The class will run from 4pm to 6pm and is an eight-week programme running every fortnight.
“We have wine, a lot of laughter and people are taught about tarot.”
It’s a remarkable turnaround for Gina whose life hung in the balance in September 2004,
She broke nine ribs, shattered her right leg in 30 places, punctured a lung and smashed her skull in the accident.
She also suffered a lump on her throat which was too deep to operate and doctors gave her a 10 per cent chance of singing again. She fought back by painfully re-building her vocal cords with the help of a coach.
Even as recently as last year, she needed a full hip replacement as the last legacy of the accident.
But Gina remains as defiant as ever. She has recently enjoyed two singing stints in the USA, was the opening act for Ben E King on his UK tour and hopes to be involved in a television pilot show this summer.
But she has now come home to launch a completely new sideline. Gina has been a tarot card reader almost all her life and now wants to pass on her skills.
She said: “My nana used to do the cards and she used to read the tea leaves.
“She taught me to read the cards when I was eight and when I was on tour, I would do them for the musicians and the stage hands and all the people that I worked with.
“I am always doing them for my friends. I decided that, because so many people were interested in it, that I would teach it.
“Yes, there will be cynics but if this brings someone comfort, it is worthwhile. I think they are wonderful.”
Gina said she had even foreseen her own misfortune before she had the accident in 2004.
“I could see there was going to be a lot of tears, devastation and a re-birth.”
Now people are being invited to sign up for the course, which costs £15 a fortnight. Those interested should contact Gina on 07990 608939.