"I was sleeping all day:" Doncaster Britain's Got Talent star announces comeback after battle with depression following mum's death
A Doncaster star of Britain's Got Talent is set to make her return to the music scene after overcoming a lengthy battle with depression following her mum's death from cancer.
Violin star Alexandra Parker, who wowed judges on the ITV talent show in 2011, has revealed how she battled with severe depression following her mum Carole's death in 2015.
In a candid interview, she has revealed how she spent hours sleeping and hiding away from the outside world after losing her mum to the disease following an eight month battle.
She has told how she left her beloved violin in its case and retired from the music business, despite being tipped for the top after her appearance on the smash hit show.
But now she is back in business - and is also due to get married later this year after being helped through her battle by husband-to-be Lee Clothier.
She said: "I went through a terrible time after my mum died. I was in a really dark place and couldn't get out of bed.
"I'd literally sleep until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, get up for an hour and then go back to bed. I physically couldn't stay awake. I didn't leave the house and when I did, I didn't care what I looked like. I wouldn't bother with make-up or getting dressed up."
It was all a far cry from Alexandra's stage performances where her raunchy, leather outfits and flowing, long hair earned her comparisons to global violin star Vanessa Mae.
Alexandra, 28, from Epworth, has been a familiar face on the Doncaster music scene for more than a decade, first earning a living by busking on the streets of Doncaster with her electric violin.
That led to appearances at weddings and local concerts and when she appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2011 her performance earned her a standing ovation from judge and Baywatch star David Hasselhoff.
However, Alexandra's world fell apart when her mum Carole was diagnosed with terminal oesophaegal cancer in June 2014 - and was told that she only had a few months to live.
She said: "I became a full-time carer to mum. I moved back in with my mum and dad and I honoured all my existing bookings but didn't take any more on and spent my time looking after my mum in her final months.
"She worked on reception at Doncaster Royal Infirmary so everyone knew her. I can't remember sleeping very much in all those months I was looking after her. We just went through it together."
Following Carole's death in February 2015, Alexandra plunged into depression, spending her days sleeping and not venturing out of the house.
"I couldn't do anything," she said. "I always used to do my hair and make-up and care about the way I dressed, but I didn't bother. I'd just slouch around in baggy clothes and not care about what I'd got on."
However, slowly but surely, and with help from friends, Alexandra set out on the road to recovery.
"A friend took me out and gave me a good talking to," she said. "I was told to get myself sorted out. People close to you find it hard to say anything because they are scared of how people might react but she just told me straight and that's when I started to see the other side and start making an effort again."
And shortly after her mum's death, she met husband to be Lee, 44 - and the pair are set to tie the knot this summer.
She said: "He has been my rock. He's been so supportive and there for me. While my mum was alive, my purpose in life was to look after her. After she died, that purpose was gone and I didn't know what to do with myself.
"Music had always been my saviour but I couldn't touch my violin. I left it in its case and didn't go anywhere near it."
Another friend, Liam Swift, encouraged her to join a regular help group where people from all walks of life get together to discuss challenges and how to overcome them and to take her first steps back into the music business.
"He really helped, holding my hand and helping me to get my confidence back," she said.
She has now started busking on the streets of Doncaster again - and says the response from locals has been amazing.
"People have been coming up asking where I have been and what I have been doing. I'm seeing all the people I saw back then and they are all very helpful and supportive. I was worried about people asking about my mum and I didn't want to cry in front of people but they have been brilliant with me."
And she's also being booked up for weddings again, has been signed up to appear at London's Cafe Royal and is also in discussions about hosting her own radio show.
A string of lucrative musical dates in the Middle East are also in the pipeline and a new CD is also on the way.
"I'm playing my violin every day again now, " she added. "When I first picked it up again it was like being back with an old friend. I actually felt a bit guilty towards the violin but I'm enjoying it, enjoying life and it feels good to be back."