Stoke Newington baker Shana Lewis, who survived five brain operations, to sing on TV for royal wedding

PUBLISHED: 10:34 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:34 24 April 2018

Shana Lewis. Picture: Shana Lewis

Shana Lewis. Picture: Shana Lewis


A Stoke Newington baker who survived five brain operations is warming up her vocals to perform on the One Show for the royal wedding.

Shana in hospital after a brain operation. Picture: Shana LewisShana in hospital after a brain operation. Picture: Shana Lewis

Shana Lewis, 47, will perform in the Gosp-Ability choir on May 17 and it will be live broadcast from Windsor Guildhall to help celebrate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day.

As well as being a talented singer, Shana – who lives with two serious brain conditions – runs a cake business from her home on the Milton Gardens estate in Howard Road.

“I live with these conditions on a daily basis,” said Shana, “and they have changed my life completely.

“The fact I make cakes now and am able to put intricate detail on them is quite amazing because there was a time when I couldn’t even feed myself. So to be able to use my hands to make cakes and people appreciate them and pay for them is a great thing.”

One of Shana's bespoke cakes. Picture: Shana LewisOne of Shana's bespoke cakes. Picture: Shana Lewis

Gosp-Ability was founded in Coventry by Sandra Godley, who was impressed by Prince Harry’s activism for Mind and the Invictus Games. In reflection of these causes, the group is composed of singers who have lived with issues such as depression, anxiety or disability.

Shana told the Gazette: “It’s a gift for Meghan and Harry and it is very special. We auditioned a few weeks ago and I’m one of the fortunate ones. It is all very exciting. I thought I was going to die so now to be doing all of this is so great.”

Shana has had five brain operations in as many years. She was born with Chiari malformation type 1, meaning the base of her brain protrudes into her spinal canal, causing natural fluids to get trapped. This condition was dormant until she was 38 and she believes the slow diagnosis contributed to her second condition, Hydrocephalus, which entails the build-up of water in the brain.

“I was left slowly dying,” said Shana.

One of Shana's bespoke cakes. Picture: Shana LewisOne of Shana's bespoke cakes. Picture: Shana Lewis

But now it’s a year since her last surgery, and things are looking up. She recently appeared on the One Show with five other choir members, where she met Kylie Minogue.

Gosp-Ability will also be performing at Windsor Cathedral, where the Archbishop of Canterbury will be in attendance, on May 6.

She grew up in Dalston and has been singing at Hampden Chapel for as long as she can remember.

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