Rider who survived cancer and her daughter to sing in Britain’s Got Talent semi-final

  • A dressage rider who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago is singing in the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) with her teenage daughter.

    Sammy Harrison and her daughter Honey perform in the second of five semi-finals on ITV this evening (12 September), as judge Amanda Holden’s golden buzzer act.

    Sammy told H&H she travelled the world as a singer in her youth, but after she had Honey, she “retired” to be a mother, and ride.

    Honey also showed singing talent as a child, and aged 14, she has already performed in West End shows.

    “She asked every year if she can apply for BGT, and I said no as I wanted her to be the best she can be before she did anything like that,” Sammy said. “Then I got diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. I had a right mastectomy, and got the all-clear, and Honey applied to BGT for both of us without my knowledge; I’d never have put myself forward.”

    Sammy said Honey told her of the audition, last autumn, days beforehand.

    “I was thinking ‘How do I get out of this’!” Sammy said. “But because I’d been ill, I started to think differently about things, and thought you only live once.”

    Sammy and Honey spent seven hours queuing, and a total of 11 hours at the audition, but were selected to progress to the filmed stage.

    On 23 January, Sammy’s 43rd birthday, they appeared in front of the judges, but their performance was stopped by Simon Cowell, who asked them to learn another song, and come back later that day.

    “He said he liked us but didn’t like the song, and wanted to give us the best chance,” Sammy said, adding that she and Honey had 15 minutes to learn the song they eventually auditioned.

    “I’m not very good at learning lyrics, and I said ‘this isn’t going to happen, I can’t learn a song in 15 minutes’, but I wrote the lyrics on my hand. They were still there two weeks later as I’d written them in indelible marker pen.”

    This audition went better — so much so that Amanda pressed the golden buzzer to select Sammy and Honey as her act to go straight to the live vote stage.

    “I haven’t stopped crying since!” Sammy said. “The whole thing was just so moving.

    “I hadn’t wanted to do it but all of a sudden, it turned magical; you couldn’t write it.”

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    Sammy and Honey’s semi-final has been recorded already. The judges will pick from it one act to go to the final, while the public vote will determine the other finalist.

    “Maybe there will be other mums and daughters who will empathise with us and vote,” Sammy said. “And you get five free votes if you download the BGT app!

    “The performance was so emotional; to be able to sing with my daughter, and a song that means a lot to Honey, it meant so much.”

    And although Sammy, who has eight horses including a three-year-old Lusitano stallion and has competed at the British Dressage national championships, has hugely enjoyed the BGT experience, and would love to make the final, she is also looking forward to a return to some sort of normality.

    “I can’t wait to get back to competing the horses again!” she said.

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