Britain's Got Talent finalist thanks Simon Cowell for funding surgery

Britain's Got Talent judge Simon Cowell forked out £175,000 (S$310,000) for dancer Julia Carlile's treatment.
Britain's Got Talent judge Simon Cowell forked out £175,000 (S$310,000) for dancer Julia Carlile's treatment.PHOTO: JULIA CARLILE/TWITTER

LONDON • Dance group MerseyGirls had hoped to finish first in the June finale of talent show Britain's Got Talent and use the £250,000 (S$430,000) prize to pay for surgery for one member.

Julia Carlile, 15, has scoliosis, a back condition where the spine is curved to one side. She feared she would never dance again if her ailment was not fixed.

The group came in ninth, but there is a happy ending.

Chief judge Simon Cowell surprised Carlile backstage, saying he would fork out the £175,000 she needed for the treatment - involving two operations - in the United States.

On Monday, she tweeted that the second surgery had been a success, reported Liverpool newspaper Echo.

"Now on the road to recovery. Thank you @SimonCowell @CowellOnline #strong #recovery #fighter."

Last week, she had given an update of her health after her first operation, saying she was dancing again after just nine days.

In the MerseyGirls' first audition, she had told the judges that only winning the £250,000 prize would open a door to getting pioneering treatment in the US.

The surgeries will also help her to cope with the pressure of school life. The Mirror had quoted her as saying before the treatment: "I hated school because I had to wear a back brace. When my friends gave me hugs, they'd say, 'Oh what's that?'

"Then one day, my French teacher said, 'Oh you look bigger', meaning fat, so I haven't worn my brace at school since."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2017, with the headline 'Finalist thanks Cowell for funding surgery'. Print Edition | Subscribe