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In association with The Royal Bank of Scotland

I have absolutely no regrets

Feb 15 2006

From Liverpool poverty to jet set high-life and a love affair with Omar Sharif, April Ashley has done it all. Now 70, she tells Peter Elson about her early years.

Daily Post


April Ashley today, living a glamorous life

NOW a grande dame of 70, April Ashley emanates much throaty chuckling of an ironic kind when asked about her Liverpool home.

"My childhood life in Liverpool was like a horror movie. I was such an unusual child and was beaten up everyday," says the former model and the first Briton to undergo a sex change.

With a new biography due out in - guess when?? April - and rumours that Catherine Zeta Jones is to play her life on film, Ashley is in reminiscent mood.

"It would be wonderful as only Catherine Zeta Jones embodies the old-fashioned Hollywood-style glamour that I represent," says the former Liverpool council estate-dweller.

But there's nothing ordinary about April. During sea-going days she once lodged with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and still exchanges Christmas cards.

"I was brought up in Pitt Street, near the South Docks. Called after one of the Pitt family politicians, but we called it 'Pit Street', because it was so horrendous and it was very Dickensian, with filthy, dirty flats.

"We were all urchins, we used to pick tar up off the streets and eat it because we thought it tasted like toffee. That's what it was like.

"We moved to Norris Green, which was a new council estate, but unfortunately the whole of Scotland Road, then the most terrifying place in the world came too, so in five minutes Norris Green was a ghetto, with fist fights and brawls."

As for the working class experience of looking out for each other, she says: "Not for me, they were looking out for me to see how much they could hit me."


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