Edinburgh Has Talent: Emma Milligan sings for gran

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A UKELELE-LOVING teenager from the Capital will dedicate her performance at this year’s Edinburgh Has Talent final to her grandmother who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Emma Milligan, 15, a keen singer since performing for staff and customers at her local fishmonger as a three-year-old, said discovering she had made it through to next month’s event felt like a “light at the end of the tunnel” after the family received news of her grandmother’s illness.

Emma Milligan will make her appearance in the EHT final using the ukelele given to her by her grandmother. Picture: Scott Louden

Emma Milligan will make her appearance in the EHT final using the ukelele given to her by her grandmother. Picture: Scott Louden

And the Holy Rood High pupil from The Jewel said the “sad period” would push her to giving her best during her rendition of Nina Nesbitt’s hit single Stay Out at the Festival Theatre on November 1.

She said: “This has boosted me a lot – it has made me feel happy. It’s something I’ve worked really hard for and now it has actually paid off.”

Emma said a big part of her performance would be the pink and blue ukelele bought for her as a Christmas present by her grandmother, Ann, 66.

She said the instrument, which will replace Nesbitt’s trademark guitar on the Festival Theatre stage, would be a fitting symbol of the influence of her gran on her life.

“My gran has been like a second mum to me – I spent so much time with her when I was younger,” she said.

“When I found out she had cancer I was in floods of tears. My gran and grandad were always saying ‘keep singing, keep singing’ to me. I just want to do as well as I can for myself and for them.” And she said she was inspired to learn the ukelele thanks to the instrument’s “unusualness”.

“When my gran got it for me my mum was saying, ‘she’s never going to use it’, and then I proved her wrong,” she said.

“It’s different – something unexpected. It was bought in pink and blue by my gran, who knew they were my favourite 
colours.”

Emma’s parents said the whole family was “over the moon” at her achievement.

Mum Margaret, 45, said: “We’re absolutely delighted – she’s been singing since she could first speak.

“We’ve had such a sad time lately since my mum, who is really close to Emma, was diagnosed with cancer. This has given Emma a wee boost.”