A folk singer battling cancer is already planning a return to the stage.

Courageous Maggie Boyle has been forced to take several months off while undergoing surgery for bowel cancer.

But she hopes to return to her busy performing schedule in February by touring with female harmony trio Grace Notes.

She said: “I’m expecting to get out fairly early in the New Year – I hope to be gigging normally.”

The pledge came as many of Maggie’s fellow folk artists rallied round to support her during her ordeal.

Several are giving their time free to play benefit concerts to help replace income Maggie will lose through illness.

The cast of The Magical Christmas Tree – which Maggie plays with annually – has extended this year’s tour to include a Keighley performance on December 5.

Pete Morton, Chris Parkinson and Maggie’s stand-in, Emily Sanders, promise vibrant new songs, beautiful old carols and stunning instrumentals.

Fellow performers from the local folk circuit will also play during the show at the New Variety Club in Russell Street.

Maggie, a renowned singer and musician, paid tribute to the tight-knit folk community that has given her support.

She added: “Everyone I know in Keighley has been fantastic. It makes a huge difference knowing I have that support.”

Maggie, who provided the soundtrack for hit 1992 film Patriot Games, is part of a Northern folk dynasty.

Her grown-up children – Joe Tilston and Molly Jones – are folk artists, her step-daughter, Martha Tilston, was nominated for a BBC Folk Award, and her former partner, Steve Tilston, is an internationally-known singer-songwriter.

Carol Wood, promoter of the Magical Christmas Tree, said the concert was important because Maggie, like many professional musicians, does not receive sick pay or state benefits when she is ill.

She added: “We want to raise funds that will keep Maggie safe and well while she recovers, so she does not need to worry about money and will be able to concentrate on getting well again.

“As ever, Maggie is very positive and is looking forward to performing again.”

Tickets for the Magical Christmas Tree are available via e-mail at ken carolwood@googlemail.com or by calling (01535) 606939.