Former EastEnders actress Cheryl Fergison has spoken publicly for the first time about how her son came close to death as a baby.

Cheryl – who is appearing on ITV’s new show Your Face Sounds Familiar, in which celebrities impersonate pop stars chosen at random – told the Mirror that Alex, who is now a teenager, suffered from life-threatening epilepsy after he was born.

She revealed: “I totally understand what it feels like to be in the position where your child is not well.

“My son used to suffer from febrile convulsions, so basically he used to have fits and at some points he’d be completely gone.”

She added that her first husband, Jamshed Saddiqi, often had to rescuscitate Alex when he had a fit.

“I wasn’t very good at coping with it,” she admitted. “At the time it’s, of course, very scary… it’s your child.”

Cheryl is taking part in Your Face Sounds Familiar to raise money for her local children’s hospice ChYps – and came up trumps on Saturday night when her impersonation of Dusty Springfield won her the first heat of the show, netting £10,000 for the organisation.

“I wanted to do a local charity,” she said. “I try to do as much as I can for anybody but you can only stretch yourself so far.

And she admitted she was worried about embarrassing herself on the show, which will require its celebrities to impersonate pop stars of the opposite gender.

“I’m nervous about tripping down stairs, forgetting lines, singing badly, singing out of tune,” Cheryl said.

“The make-up, the prosthetics and the wardrobe will never make us look silly – only we will make ourselves look silly!”