A TALENTED young dancer and gymnast stricken by the spinal disease scoliosis made an extraordinary stage comeback in a leading role only 10 weeks after pioneering surgery.

Alice McLoughlin was only 13 and a talented gymnast training five days a week at the elite Heathrow gym that prepares young people for the Olympics, when her world fell apart.

Her mum Eilish said: "They noticed at the gym that there was a lump on her back and that something was not right."

Scoliosis was diagnosed - a curvature of the spine.

It seemed as if Alice's dreams were dashed forever. As well as her gymnastic ambitions she was a regular pupil at the famed school of dancing run by Heidi Rhodes in Roses Lane, Windsor where she had also shown real talent.

Her parents went on Facebook and found a pioneering spinal surgeon Professor Doctor Ahmet Alanay in Istanbul who had trained in the States to perform surgery that did not involve the standard 'fusion' method.

Mum Eilish works as an IT project manager in the oil and gas industry and dad Stephen is a construction site worker. The family lives at Cavendish Meads, Sunninghill.

They raided their savings and spent £45,000 taking Alice to Turkey for the treatment.

Two weeks later she was back at Marist School in Sunninghill.

Gymnastics were over for her - but thanks to the pioneering treatment a dancing career still beckons.

Her mum said: "She had always kept up her ballet lessons at Heidi Rhodes' even while training at the gym.

"Just 10 weeks after her operation she auditioned for a big production by London Children's Ballet and won a lead role dancing eight shows. She has also won a medal at the Maidenhead Dance Festival."

Princess Eugenie proudly bared the scar on her back on her wedding dress having also suffered from scoliosis as a child. But Alice does not have a scar.

Her treatment avoided fusion surgery that would have ruined her chances of dancing and saw a small tether inserted into her spine like a coil or a small telephone lead, allowing her spine to gently straighten.

Trials are already being held with a view to making the treatment available on the NHS soon. But Mr and Mrs McLoughlin do not regret spending their savings as soon as Alice's condition was discovered. Early treatment is vital - and Alice, now 14 is looking forward to a dancing future.