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Michala Banas fills in for sick Kym Valentine (neighbours),23739,24152739-5012980,00.html

Kym Valentine has been forced to pull out of the show as she struggles to recover from a collapsed lung and pneumonia.

McLeod's Daughters favourite Michala Banas will step into Valentine's role of Libby Kennedy on the long-running soap from tomorrow as Valentine takes a one-month break to regain her health.

Neighbours executive producer Susan Bower made the difficult and highly unusual decision to bring Banas in to play the character late last week.

In pictures: Neighbours from heavenValentine, who has played Libby Kennedy for more than 11 years, said handing the role over to Banas was one of the hardest things she has done. "It is heartbreaking ...but I will be back," she said.

Valentine suffered a collapsed lung during a horror flight home from New York on July 4.

Another departing Neighbours favourite, Natalie Blair, made a visit to her home state yesterday, before heading overseas to carve a career in musical theatre when she finishes filming in four weeks.

She was at Westfield Chermside shopping centre in north Brisbane helping talent scouts audition hopefuls for a guest role on the show.

Two budding stars were selected from 15 Queensland finalists in the nationwide promotion.

The Gold Coast's Elliot Nimmo, 16, and 17-year-old Leah Musch, from Manly, will now go up against national finalists for a six-week contract on the show.

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