MANY congratulations to Bolton comedian Sophie Willan who is the first winner of the BBC’s prestigious Caroline Aherne Bursary.

She beat hundreds of other comics to win the prize, launched last year in memory of the popular Manchester comedy star, and she will receive £5,000 to support development of her work and be mentored.

Sophie endured a tough childhood. Her mother was a drug addict and Sophie was in and out of care homes and she has incorporated some of her memories into her act. She’s a survivor who has been able to laugh at life and deserves every success.