By Cara Sulieman
PROUD neighbours said they always knew Susan Boyle was going to be a star, and often hear her singing through the walls.
They spoke about her with a combination of humour and fondness, and it is clear the entire community is right behind the singing sensation who’s favourite bar tipple is a simple glass of lemonade.
And they’ve already been enjoying her racy stories of threatening to fight Ant and Dec in her red knickers.
On a narrow street in a council estate, her home on Yule Terrace is a dark brown pebble-dashed end terrace house.
A battered green gate attached to a broken brown fence leads up an uneven slabbed path to a chipped white wooden door.
It is here that the next big thing lives, in a friendly and welcoming community that is clearly proud of what she has achieved.
A neighbour across the road from Susan, who didn’t want to be named, said: “She’s got a fantastic singing voice.
“Everyone’s heard her, she’s known for it round here. “
She’s a very individual character – but lovely.”
She also revealed how the children of Blackburn have teased the talent show hopeful for years.
She said: “When I was younger we used to call her Susie Bong because we all thought she was a bit mad. It’s terrible really because I now know how kind she is .
“The kids round here still target her.
They run up, ring her doorbell then run away.
“They’re at it all the time.”
One of nine siblings, Susan’s devout Catholic family are all well known in the village.
The neighbour said: “Her whole family are talented. Most of them can sing, and all of them do something artistic. There’s even a magician in the family.”
It is believed her sister Mary lives in nearby Whitburn and her brother John has just moved to Seafield, also nearby.
The neighbour’s partner, Gary, said that he had chased the local children away a few times.
He said: “The kids round here torment her. It’s not fair, she doesn’t deserve it.
“It’s got worse since her mother passed away.
“In the winter when there’s snow on the ground the house becomes a target for them.
“I’ve chased them away a few times. No matter how different she is she shouldn’t be treated like that.
“We try and help her out as much as we can.
“She’ll come across and chap if she needs anything. I’ve fixed her hoover a few times and things like that.”
But Gary also revealed that there are certain things he has been asked to do that have been a bit strange.
He said: “Once she came across because she wanted her notes fished out of a large whisky bottle.
“She keeps her savings in the house and had put notes inside this bottle and couldn’t get them back out again.
“I’ve a young boy that works with me and just left him to it. He got them out – he’s artistic like that.”
Other neighbours described Brian Smith, 51, who also lives across the road, as the man who knew her best.
Friends for 20 years, he revealed that her mother’s death three years ago had a profound effect on her, and that she’s always struggled a little bit.
He said: “She’s lived in that house all her life. It used to be all of them in there, then all her brothers and sisters moved away and her Dad died. “In the end it was just her and her mum.
When she died Susan took it really badly.
“It’s really good that she’s doing so well on this show, it’s been therapeutic for her.
“She was born with water on the brain and not been quite right since then.
“It’s just small things now and again. I really hope she does well in the competition because she really deserves it and needs it.
“I’ve got to hope and pray that she does everything correctly – I think she will.”
Brian talked about how excited Susan had been before the audition and every step after that.
He said: “She was telling me that Ant and Dec were talking to her, teasing her a wee bit.
“She said to them: ‘I’ve got my red knickers on and when I’ve got them on I’m ready for a fight.’
“That’s the sort of person she is. You never know what she’s going to come out with next.”
Children playing in the street spoke about Susan and the way she frightens some of the kids in the area.
One five-year-old girl said: “Susie Simple is a witch. She does magic in Asdas.”
And at the Happy Valley Hotel just round the corner, where Susan used to perform with her brother, the manager knows her very well.
Although she hasn’t played there for a while, she often pops in for a drink.
Manager Jackie Russell said: “She used to perform here with her brother. That was ages ago now.
“She’s the kind of person who keeps herself to herself. Everybody says she’s got the voice of an angel.
“She’s all excited about the competition. The whole of Blackburn will be watching.
“We don’t usually get talent that goes as far as that.
“The whole family has lovely voices but hers is just amazing. It’s a surprise when she opens her mouth and that voice comes out. She’s well known in the village for what a lovely voice she’s got.
“She’s quite a modest girl, doesn’t really talk about the show and gets really embarrassed when it’s brought up in the pub.”
Jackie also spoke about how she hoped Susan would be looked after during the show because it might become a bit much for her.
She said: “She’s a little vulnerable. I can only hope that someone is looking after her, making sure she doesn’t get taken advantage of.”
Although a regular customer, Susan doesn’t drink alcohol very often.
Jackie said: “She doesn’t really drink. She’ll have a glass of wine once in a blue moon but usually it’s a half pint of lemonade”
But one thing Susan can’t stop talking about is judge Piers Morgan, who she seems to have developed a crush on.
Jackie said: “She’s always talking about how well her and Piers get on.
“It’s Piers this, Piers that. “She absolutely loves him.”