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Star part for James the brave; Boy, 11, takes to stage in charity show.

Byline: PETRA MANN

EVERY day brave James Dunne faces a grim battle.

James, 11, suffers from a rare condition which means large parts of his skin fall off, leaving raw wounds.

Each day, mother Lesley spends two to three hours gently wrapping his body in bandages.

But the brave youngster is determined not to let the condition dominate his life.

And he is taking to the stage in front of a packed Manchester audience to help raise funds to tackle the disease.

He will star in a musical with singer Kim Wilde, actor Oliver Tobias and exCoronation Street star Tracie Bennett to raise funds.

``I'm a bit nervous but really looking forward to the musical and meeting all those famous people.''

Sunday Night at the Manchester Palace will be a unique musical event in aid of the charity DebRA to fight the disease.

An all-star West End cast and orchestra will perform songs from great musicals like Oklahoma, The Lion King, West Side Story, Hair, Oliver and Phantom of the Opera.

James will singing Consider Yourself from Oliver alongside St Winifred's school choir and a host of West End stars.

Wheelchair-bound James, from Calderstones, said: ``Living with this condition is not easy. I have to take pain killers every day.

``It mainly affects the skin from under my shoulders and down, but sometimes my face gets it.

``When the skin falls away, it leaves me red raw.''

There are thought to be 5,000 people with dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa in the UK and an estimated 500,000 worldwide.

The condition is genetic and can lead to major handicaps and a relatively short and painful life.

Mrs Dunne, 44, said her son faces every day with courage``James is in pain every day, but he does his best to cope with it and always manages to smile and stay positive.

``I'm very proud of himOther celebrity appearances already confirmed include Bonnie Langford, Joanne Farrell of TV's Steel River Blues and theatre star David Shannon.

James, a pupil at St Benedict's College, Garston, is also taking part in Sunday's Liverpool Half Marathon to raise money for the charity.

He said: ``My friend is going to push me around the course.

``I want to raise as much money as possible to beat this disease.''

The musical is on Sunday, April 24. For ticket information, ring Manchester Palace box office on 0870 160 2874

CAPTION(S):

STAGE STRUCK: James, with his mother Lesley, will star in the show with Kim Wilde and Oliver Tobias; START TURN: Ex-Corrie star Tracie Bennett
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 11, 2005
Words:426
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