WHEN the curtain falls on the final show of the tour of Blood Brothers at Manchester’s Palace Theatre there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

And it won’t just be because of the emotional nature of Willy Russell’s hit show nor the fact that the cast who have been on the road for several months have come to the end of the run.

It will mark the final appearance by Lyn Paul in the key role of Mrs Johnstone - a role she has played in the West End and national tours on and off for 21 years.

“I just felt it was about time I hung up my pinny and that somebody younger should be in the role,” said Lyn. “I’ve been so lucky to be kept in the show for so long and it is fitting that it will all end in my home town, Manchester.”

Lyn, who first found fame as a member of the group the New Seekers who had a string of hits in the early Seventies including I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, first became involved in the show in 1997.

“It’s amazing to think that my son was nearly eight when I got the part - he’s 29 now,” she said.

“It is going to be very emotional on the last night because Blood Brothers has been such a massive part of my life.

“I was very lucky with the New Seekers which gave me the career that I have got now but the New Seekers was actually only four years. This has been 21 years.

“It’s not just Mrs J I’ll be saying goodbye to but Bill Kenwright, the show’s producer and director Bob Thomson and all the people in the cast. The majority of them I have worked with for donkey years on and off, so it is going to be a wrench to know that it is never going to happen again.”

After her pop career both with the New Seekers and then as a solo artist - Lyn actually represented the UK twice in the Eurovision Song Contest first with the group and then on her own - she became an in-demand musical theatre leading lady. She has also starred in Cabaret and the Boy George musical Taboo

Blood Brothers, the story of two brothers separated at birth and who reunite with tragic consequences, has become one of the most popular modern musicals.

“It’s a wonderful show; it is so well written,” she said. “You can’t go wrong with Willie Russell that’s for sure.

“Even now after all these years it still has that potential to surprise me and I’ll find myself on stage just revelling in being part of it all.”

Other stars who have taken on the role include Stephanie Lawrence, Barbara Dickson, Marti Webb and even former Spice Girl Mel C. But it was Lyn Bill Kenwright turned to to reprise the role when the show ended its West End run after 24 years in 2012.

She believes that being a mum helped her in playing Mrs Johnstone.

“Oh, definitely,” she said. “Bill has always said you can always tell when a Mrs J has had children because you instinctively know how a child would react and how you would feel and react should anything happen to them.”

After countless performances - “I don’t actually know how many, probably thousands” - there is one thing that Lyn won’t miss.

“People think that going on a national tour is incredibly glamorous but it’s quite possibly the most unglamorous life you could wish to experience,” she said.

“There are so many things that people don’t see and I think I’ve had enough of that now. I want to be home with my boys.”

Although she may be hanging up her pinny, Lyn has no intentions of stopping work.

“I would never retire,” she said. “The day I retire the bones and the joints will give up.

“Besides I don’t think I could do anything else. We ran a pub in Surrey for a year and I was hopeless. I couldn’t work the till or pull a pint so they put me in the kitchen and I can’t cook - it was a disaster!

“No, I want to keep going but it would be nice to try something new.

“It would be nice to do something with Bill Kenwright as I’ve worked with him for so many years so hopefully there will be something else in the pipeline with him. And if not, I’ve a terrific agent who will keep putting me forward for things.

“In the meantime I’m hoping to do some workshops for drama schools and schools so hopefully I can bring Mrs J to life for them.”

Given a free choice there is one role which Lyn would love to add to her CV - that of Momma Rose in Gypsy.

“It’s a role I’ve wanted to play for years,” she said.

“Failing that I wouldn’t mind a walk-on part in Coronation Street. I was in the show many years ago so maybe I’ll just walk into the Rovers and see if anyone stops me!”

Blood Brothers, Palace Theatre, Manchester, Tuesday, May 15 until Saturday, May 26. Details from 0844 871 3019 or www.atgtickets.com