Singer wins ‘undisclosed’ payout from cruise firm after onstage accident left her terrified to perform again

A former TV talent show superstar from Uddingston has revealed she “cheated death” after plunging through the floor of a cruise ship.

Brenda Cochrane, 59, shot to fame in the 1990s after winning the hearts of the nation during Opportunity Knocks.

The singer continued to perform all over the world for the last 30 years.

But for the last two years she has been battling post-traumatic stress disorder after falling into a 35-foot chasm beneath the stage on a luxury liner.

Brenda said: “I’m quite a level-headed person but it was honestly terrifying.

“Imagine those clips on the internet you see when someone unknowingly falls through the cellar hatch in a pub floor – well it was like that.

“Everyone around me couldn’t believe it.

“I was told I cheated death because I fell on the drum kit but if I landed a few inches to the right then I could have fallen a further 35 feet.”

Brenda won the final of Opportunity Knocks in 1989 with her rendition of Frank Sinatra’s hit New York, New York.

Her victory was secured after netting the biggest margin of votes ever cast in the show’s 26 year history.

Her first album titled The Voice then went gold in the autumn of 1990 and for the last 30 years she has toured the world while performing to global audiences.

However while Brenda was booked to work on the Princess Regal cruise ship in August 2017 she suffered a massive setback.

While the vessel was docked at Copenhagen, Denmark she was rehearsing with musicians on stage ahead of an evening show.

She was standing near the drum kit which was set up on a special platform that would rise up from beneath the stage.

However as she was singing it suddenly descended and Brenda fell nearly five feet into the void.

She was hauled to safety by quick-thinking stage hands but Brenda suffered a back injury, whiplash injuries to her neck and deep tissue trauma to her right leg.

The entertainer was forced to pull out of the week-long show on the vessel and was left with post-traumatic stress that left her unable to go near a stage again.

Brenda added: “It took a long time to recover physically from the injuries but I’m still haunted by nightmares and suffering from PTSD and all the anguish and trauma that brings.

“My voice remains okay but it’s the fear of actually walking on a stage that I now struggle with.

“The injuries were bad but not being able to perform was worse.

“I’ve worked on stages for most of my life but something like this has never happened.

“I now have this fear of performing again because my imagination just goes into overdrive and I start panicking about everything that could go wrong.

“Other people who’ve experienced a fright like this will know what it’s like. It’s like if you were bitten by a dog – the last thing you’d want is to go near another dog.

“I know I’m over the worst of it now and I’ve been speaking to professionals so hopefully I’ll be able to get past it soon enough.”

Digby Brown Solicitors investigated Princess Cruises over Brenda’s accident and found the floor likely opened up because someone off-stage unknowingly pressed the controls for the drum kit platform.

They also found that despite inviting Brenda aboard the ship as a guest entertainer there were inadequate risk assessments in place to ensure her safety.

Princess Cruises ended up paying Brenda an undisclosed sum in damages to compensate the singer for her injuries.

Mark Gibson, Head of the Foreign & Travel team at Digby Brown, said: “This was a traumatic experience for our client and she could very easily have been more seriously injured.

“We are pleased to have been able to support Brenda and we wish her all the best with her recovery.”