A former nurse has had the opportunity of a lifetime after she was chosen to star in the video for a new Christmas single by Robbie Williams.

Sandy Slade, 48, from Stratton St Margaret, has lived in Swindon all her life, and trained as a nurse before working at the old Princess Margaret Hospital.

But she left medicine when the building was pulled down, and soon happened upon a career in film.

“I have only been acting for a couple of years,” she said.

“It began completely by accident. I was an avid reader and was desperate to meet one particular author. I had read all of his books, but he made the move from writing to being a movie producer.

“I thought the only way I could meet him was to audition. I had to go through various processes to get to him.”

After working on a number of films, primarily horror flicks with titles such as Dead Walkers: Rise Of The 4th Reich and Wasteland, Sandy decided to take a chance on a music video casting session.

“I didn’t know anything about it at the time, or who it was with,” she said.

“All it said was it needed ladies of a certain age. I was fortunate. There was only a small group, and I got pulled out for a major feature part.

“It is all very cheesy and slightly tongue in cheek. It is set up as a kind of Dean Martin Christmas show, all about family values and very wholesome.

“I think now he is a dad he has changed, and this is a real departure from what he has done before. It is all swing music and sentimental stuff. He has definitely matured.

“The briefing was that Robbie had invited some of his friends over for Christmas. I had to play a seriously swooning fan at the front of the audience when he comes in. The rest is all of us gathered around his tree.

“Before he arrived we did a lot of background shots. Then he walked in from behind and said “Hi, I’m Rob,” which I found hilarious because who would not recognise him?

“Sometimes you do not want to meet your idol, because you might find they let you down. But he was easy to work with and a joy to be around. He is nice and honest, and in this industry that is quite rare.”

Sandy is only too aware of how precarious a career in acting can be, and has recently completed an NVQ to be a teaching assistant.

“I just really enjoy the job, and I have been really blessed to be given the opportunity,” she said.

“I wanted to go into as many genres as I could to find out what I was good at. I have often ended up being cast as the angsty victim.

“I have been through quite a lot of life experiences myself so it is easy to translate that into acting. This was just a bit of a jolly, because I am used to poring over scripts and standing around on film sets.

“It was just a bit of light relief, but it was the chance of a lifetime.”

The single, Dream a Little Dream, is officially released on December 15, and has attracted more than 100,000 views on YouTube.