EVERYBODY needs good neighbours – and for a former Coltness woman that phrase means more to her than most, as her teenage daughter is a star in the Australian soap Neighbours.
Gillian Sneddon emigrated Down Under four years ago but her family back home in Wishaw can tune in every day to see her 13-year-old daughter Kaiya Jones grow up before their eyes.
Kaiya plays Sophie Ramsay on the show which has been a dinner-time institution in Britain for over two decades now.
Mum Gillian remembers watching the show with her sister Linda Fowler when it first aired 24 years ago.
Gillian has lived in Melbourne with husband Cameron and their children since 2005. She went to Coltness Primary School and Coltness High School before moving to Glasgow at the age of 19.
She said: “It's lovely that people that I grew up with can see my daughter in such a well-loved show as Neighbours. I am very proud!”
Gillian sang a lot in Burns competitions and played Calamity Jane in Coltness High School’s production in 1984 so it’s no surprise that her daughter Kaiya has the acting bug.
Gillian said: “Kaiya has always loved making up plays and doing puppet shows. She joined in with me when I taught my pre-school music classes. She'd then go home and re-enact the class with her toys.
“Kaiya decided she wanted to be an actor just over two years ago. She asked how she could be a 'real actor' and I told her she probably would need an agent.
“Off her own back, she Googled agents, applied for an audition and managed to get into a top agency here in Melbourne.
“Kaiya began filming for Neighbours in February this year. She loves it and is managing to juggle school and work pretty well.”
Gillian continued: “I moved away from Coltness when I was 19 as I was studying primary teaching in Glasgow.
“Although we lived in Glasgow, Kaiya visited and stayed with my mum Joan and dad Willie virtually every week in Coltness. Sadly, my mum passed away in 2002. “
Gillian’s sister Linda still lives in Coltness.
She is delighted Neighbours now has a star with Coltness roots and said: “It is nice to watch her on the screen and see her grow up. I was just saying the other day that when Neighbours first started we only had a few channels and it was family time when you all sat down to watch Neighbours so we do that again now to watch one of our family!
“It is nice for my dad, Kaiya’s grandad, as he can watch her too. We are as proud as punch. We all sat together to watch her first episode air on July 20.”
Gillian now has her own business running pre-school music classes, and has two other children Freya (5) and Hamish (3).
She is delighted that her Wishaw family members are able to watch Kaiya on TV.
She said: “My family are so proud of Kaiya on Neighbours. I watched avidly as a student in the 80s and then periodically over the years. It's such a well-known Aussie show.
“I'm extremely glad that my dad, my sister Linda and her husband Brian, as well as my wee niece Emma (5) can get to see Kaiya on TV at least a couple of times a week. I also have an Aunt Sandra who lives in Netherton who watches! It's so lovely that they'll be able to watch her grow up!”
l To see Kaiya in action in Ramsay Street tune into Neighbours weekdays on Channel 5.