HER first three singles were all top 10 hits, she was a regular on kids’ TV and pop shows and her face was in pop magazines almost on a weekly basis.

In 1999 Lolly was everywhere and then almost as suddenly as she had arrived on the scene she disappeared.

Fans were left with the singles - a riotous cover of Toni Basil’s Mickey, her debut offering Viva La Radio and another cover of Cindi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - and posters of the pigtailed pop princess.

“Everything happened so fast,” said Anna Kumble. “I had created this character and I think it just got too much. I’d had success and I was in my twenties thinking ‘I want to be a woman now, I want to be Anna’.”

But Lolly hasn’t disappeared all together and Anna is very much in demand for festivals.

Later this month she will be at Preston Live for a celebration of the Nineties and Noughties appearing alongside the likes of Phats and Small, Abz, Kelly Llorenna and Sweet Female Attitude.

“When it all started, I went into it with my eyes wide open,” she said. “It was brilliant fun. I made loads of friends and I’m still friends with them now.

“Now 20 odd years later to be asked to do these festivals is amazing. I’m a bit overwhelmed. When people sing your songs back to you, that’s an absolute buzz. Now I’m meeting kids coming up with their parents who’ll say ‘I used to dance to you and now I’m introducing them to your music’.

“It is like being in a time machine. People say how it takes them back and that’s what music can do.

“The people going to festivals like Preston Live were kids themselves when Lolly was in the charts. Then they were bills free and stress free - probably the only stress they had was worrying about what to wear on a night out. So it’s nice to be able to have fun with them and take them away from all the troubles that are around us all at the minute.”

Having attended drama college, Anna knew that she wanted to be an entertainer.

“I was in a girl band at college but I really wanted to do musicals so I left the band. I got a part in the musical Starlight Express but the band management contacted me and said they’d been developing a project with me in mind.

“The original singer they had worked with was Rachel Stevens who had just joined S Club 7 and I was free so I though I’d give it a try.”

With that Lolly was born and chart success soon followed.

“I created Lolly the character,” said Anna. “She was the happy end of me. But it was also my way of coping with things. People think that because of Lolly I must be an extrovert but actually I’m quite shy.

“With Lolly I could just take my pigtails out, put on normal clothes and become Anna again, If I had any bad press it was Lolly they were talking about not me.

“I do feel for young artists now as you are permanently exposed. There’s reality TV and social media and people want you warts and all ; they expect to see you sitting in the bathroom doing your make-up.

“I couldn’t have coped with that, I’m sure. Things are so much more intrusive now.”

After deciding to bring her pop career to an end, Anna went into TV presenting - she worked with Holly Willoughby on the children’s show Xchange - and acting.

She is in demand for panto and this year will be appearing in Beauty and the Beast at Blackburn’s Empire Theatre.

“When I gave up the making records I think it was that I wanted to be challenged a bit more,” she said. “ Back then you’d do the six week run-up to a single release then do a radio tour and the TV tour and be asked same questions.

“It became like ‘I know how to do that bit now, I need to learn more’. I really enjoyed TV which is what I went on to to presenting which I really enjoyed. I just wanted something a bit more challenging I think.”

She has a very pragmatic attitude to the idea of being a pop star.

“We all knew were a product,” she said. “It’s not like I was going ‘I’m a real artist’. I was and I am a performer and an entertainer - that’s what I’m good at and I enjoyed it and that’s why it worked.

“I knew my role. I think the problem with a lot of bands which were manufactured and all of sudden get some success and start to think ‘we’re the songwriters, we’re the real talent here’ forgetting the amazing songwriters and producers who have allowed them to do their stuff. Then they start to get greedy and it all falls apart.”

As well as a presenting and acting career, Anna has devoted time to bringing up her two children. Daughter Belle is following in mum’s footsteps and is a singer.

“When she was about 10 she got a part playing the child in Evita and I was sat in the wings watching her,” said Anna. “I could see then that she had found her passion.

“As a parent that’s all you want but in my mind I couldn’t help think ‘oh couldn’t you do something more normal?’

“But it’s clearly in her blood and I’m in a fortunate position to be able to guide her through some of the pitfalls.”

Lolly is at Preston Live, Moor Park, Preston, Saturday, July 22. Details from www.prestonlive.co.uk