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In association with The Royal Bank of Scotland

I have absolutely no regrets
 

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The doctors said they could not do a thing with him. "My records said I was of womanish appearance with practically no bodily hair. Shouldn't their own words have told them about what was wrong?"

After a stint potato picking in Jersey, friends suggested George went to Paris nightclub Carousel, then home of sophisticated drag cabaret.

"I co-presented the show, as Toni-April, translating into English. These people were too wonderful to be merely called a drag show. The cream of showbusiness and society visited, like Rex Harrison, Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker," she says.

While there she met someone who had undergone a sex-change operation at the clinic of Dr Burou, "The Wizard of Casablanca".

"It was the beginning of an adventure which I thought would solve my problems and then came the momentous decision to go to North Africa. Up until I got on the plane everyone was screaming at me 'Don't do it, they'll kill you in Africa'."

Dr Burou described her as "absolutely perfect", his "glamour girl". The operation went smoothly, in spite of losing a great deal of blood (and hair through shock).

"Back in France I made enough money to return to London to lead as normal a life as possible," she says, although it was hardly what happened. "I think I've got inner strength because I'm a Liverpudlian," she says, rhyming pud with hood.

"Strangely, that strength comes from my mother. I would watch her, a tiny woman, flinging around huge sacks of potatoes, with a fag hanging out of her mouth."

Ashley now lives quietly in an apartment at a farmhouse in the mountains above Nice in the South of France, at the invitation of a friend. Often mist-shrouded, she dubs it 'Withering Heights'.

"The kindness of people towards me takes my breath away. I think, 'What have I done to deserve this?' considering I never say anything. I have absolutely no regrets. Never one. Not even to this day."

peter.elson@dailypost.co.uk

First sex-change Briton >>>

 
 

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