The TV star’s world was rocked in March this year after losing her beloved mum, Jean, to cancer.
Carol had been away when she received the news that her mum was unwell. As a new pilot, she had been in Iceland preparing for a round-the-world solo flight as an honorary RAF Group Captain.
‘A few days later she was crying with pain… In 24 hours we had the diagnosis she had multiple tumours’, recalls Carol.
Carol and her mum, Jean
Jean had battled cancer twice before – kidney cancer and a serious melanoma.
‘She said she didn’t want any treatment. She didn’t want to go through that. She was on morphine from that moment.’
Jean passed away just three months after diagnosis, aged 89. The pair have always lived close by, or together, since Carol’s twenties so it hit the star hard.
In a candid interview with the Mirror, Carol admitted her determination to keep looking forward, even if it seems uncaring.
‘My role is not to maintain some shrine, and neither would I want my children to about me. It’s a positive thing.
‘Life is about here and now, that’s all we have. Therefore it motivates you to enjoy today’, she says.
Carol and her daughter, Katie King
Carol went on to say: ‘Mum had had a great life. I took my lead from her, and since her death I recognise my kids take their lead from me.
‘If I’m wallowing and telling Nana stories endlessly, that doesn’t help. It doesn’t mean you love anyone any less.’
She went on to explain that of course you can wallow in things, but ‘the person who cries the most is not necessarily the one who loved the most. I’m not a wallower, I’m a now we move on to the next bit.’
This positive attitude is further magnified by the inspiration she draws from those extraordinary people she met through the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards in partnership with TSB.
Referring to the awards she said: ‘It’s uplifting for me in a personal sense. Bad things happen all the time so we have to protect the good things.’
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The Countdown star said: ‘I made the most of my years with my mum, and now I’m going to make the most of my years with my children, as their mum.’
It was Carol’s mum who helped to catapult her to fame aged 21, when she forged her Cambridge graduate daughter’s signature on an application for Countdown, the C4 game show.
The move launched a 26-year career as the brains behind the conundrums, and when she left, Carol went on to become one of TV’s biggest stars.