EAST Lancashire’s answer to Dolly Parton is gearing up to wow fans with her big voice at a country and western night in Colne.

Jessica Ellerton, 17, said she was bitten by the country bug as a youngster when her American grandma used to play the records.

The student, who prefers Reba McEntire to Britney Spears, will perform in front of a crowd which includes her family and friends.

While admitting she is “really nervous” she is hoping to impress the masses at The Muni with some country classics.

Jessica, of Nelson, said her late grandma, Margaret Ferguson, moved to England from America with her dad.

She said: “I’ve always listened to country music since I was little.

“My grandma was a big Patsy Cline fan and she always played the records, so I kind of picked it up.”

Jessica, who studies A-levels at Burnley College, said she does not know any other teenage country fans.

But she said her friends were all “really supportive” of her part-time singing career and enjoyed her performances.

The teenager will perform at the country and western night alongside Broadcaster, Richard Palmer, and Mike Lane.

She said: “It isn’t the biggest concert I’ve played, but it’s the most nervewracking because my family and friends will be there.

“A lot of people have compared me to Dolly Parton, which is a real honour, but I don’t think I sound like her.

“I hope to go further and my dream is to meet Dolly one day.”

Pendle Leisure Trust has organised the country and western night for Saturday.

Executive manager Alison Goode, said: “We are extremely pleased to be involved in promoting a country and western music even at The Muni.

“It is a long time since we have done anything like this and we hope the people who enjoy this kind of music will come along and support it.

“We are especially thrilled to welcome local lass Jessica Ellerton to the stage, who, with her powerful voice, should get everyone’s toes tapping.”