Surprise party delight for Burnley's very own Coronation Street star Sonia
One of Burnley's rising stars returned from a dream trip to Venice to a surprise party to celebrate her 30th birthday.
Sonia Ibrahim thought she was going for a family meal at the Oaks Hotel in Burnley where staff were in on the surprise which had been organised by her brother, Lee, her fiance Arron Machin and her friends Merrill Jenkins, Lydia Manboard and Jenni Chapman.
Arron said: "Staff at the hotel were great as they took us to our 'meal booking' and Sonia did not suspect a thing."
Family and friends including her parents, Ben and Pam, had gathered in the Archive Room to surprise Sonia.
One of the main helpers who pitched in to decorate the tables and the room with lights and candles was Arron's eight-year-old son Cole.
Sonia, a talented actress who appeared in one of Coronation Street's most controversial storylines in its 57 year history, in 2017, said: "Myself and Arron had only just got back from Venice so I never expected anything like this would be waiting for me
" I feel so lucky to have the best friends and family in the world and I would like to thank them for organising such a great surprise and for keeping it a secret from me."
Although she now lives in Manchester, Sonia still works for the family business, Continentals cafe in Burnley which her parents set up 15 years ago.
And as Sonia is a keen advocate of supporting local businesses, only local companies were used to cater her surprise party.
A former pupil of Briercliffe Primary School, the former St Hilda's RC High School and Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School Sonia appeared in the top soap in 2017 at the centre of a heartbreaking grooming plot that saw one of its most popular characters, teenager Bethany Platt, played by Lucy Fallon, fall into the clutches of an evil Svengali like character.
Sonia played the role of Mel Maguire, who be-friends Bethany and entices her into the clutches of Nathan Curtis, played by actor Chris Harper.