When Nicky Hayton won a karaoke competition more than 20 years ago, she did not realise how far that would take her.

And take her it did. Since that day, she has travelled thousands of miles singing in pubs, clubs and entertainment venues throughout Cumbria, in the South West of Scotland and into Lancashire.

First prize was singing lessons with Les Brown who owned a recording studio in Carlisle. He taught her how and what to sing and set her up with an agent Andy Park.

For the next 20 years she would work almost every weekend.

“I turn 50 in February and the driving is starting to get me down. I am now staying within the area - Copeland and Allerdale:  I am going to try and take a weekend off a month. It is time to spend more time with my husband and family.”

As well as entertaining professionally, Nicky has another job, part of which involves keeping an audience aged from 30 to 93 happy.

She works at the Avista Care's Florence House day care centre in Dearham.

“I have been there for about 28 months and I love it. Even on the day i went for my interview, I knew I would want to work here. Everyone is so friendly and the service users always seem happy to be there.”

She does a bit of everything there, from tending to individual clients’ needs to helping Jackie, the entertainments coordinator. Her job includes some of the pick-ups and deliveries in the company’s wheelchair vans.

“People come to Florence House for different reasons. Some have specific needs and some just come because they are lonely.

“Whatever the reason, my colleagues Fiona, Michelle, manager Diane and Jackie are a fantastic team and we all try out best to ensure that everyone, no matter how they came in, will leave with a smile on their faces."

The end result is that when she is not singing at the weekends she is caring for the Florence House clients - and that means lots of celebrations,fun and laughter.

Nicky danced as a young girl and adjudicators always commented on her strong voice in the song and dance routines.

She had little idea then, however of how far that voice would take her and how many miles she would travel as a result.