Prue Leith was forced to accept round the clock protection after accepting ‘Great British Bake Off’ role, although she didn’t think she would need it
Prue Leith was forced to accept round the clock protection after accepting ‘Great British Bake Off’ role. The 77-year-old restaurateur is set to helm the Channel 4 cooking show alongside Paul Hollywood, Noel Fielding and Sandi Tosvig, and she has admitted when the broadcasting network offered to send a close protection officer to keep an eye on her and her family, she initially refused because she didn’t think she would be “trolled” following her new role. Speaking about the changes she has had to deal with since she confirmed her judging position to The Sun Online, she said: “On the day that they announced who the line-up was, they wanted to send a close protection officer.
“My husband and a bunch of friends were going out to dinner to a really nice restaurant in London.
“I said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous, we absolutely do not need a copper standing there looking.’
“But they said, ‘No, no, no, we really must just to be on the safe side.’
“What did they think is going to happen? I’m not likely to be trolled. This is a nice family show.”
However, the ‘Great British Menu’ critic had no other choice but to accept the security measures,after she noticed the protection team had ignored her refusal and had already pitched up outside her Cotswolds home.
She continued: “When I got home that night at 11 at night, there’s a chap in a van, a security guard.
“They sent somebody down to the country to look after me.
“And they sent someone to look after my agent. I mean, who do they think I am? Do they think I’m Prince Philip or something?
“I was really amazed that they really look after you.”
Although Prue has replaced former judge Mary Berry on the show, she has revealed the pair hold no bad feelings towards the other, and the 82-year-old culinary mastermind has reached out to her to warn her about being bombarded by fans.
Speaking about Mary’s advice, Prue recalled: “[Mary said] ‘Look, if there’s a big story there might be somebody at the gate, but most people like the show. It’s quite nice walking into the supermarket and being asked: ‘Are you the lady off the telly?’ That happens to me now and I always enjoy it.'”
The heroes who put their lives on the line
It is a tradition dating back more than a century. When bodies are lost at sea, coastal communities show their respect by leaving lighted candles on their windowsills. http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/the-heroes-who-put-their-lives-on-the-line-35560221.html
It is a tradition dating back more than a century. When bodies are lost at sea, coastal communities show their respect by leaving lighted candles on their windowsills. For more than a week, they have been doing just that in the fishing villages around Blacksod in Mayo. It is a small gesture to show solidarity with those who risk their lives on the water and to acknowledge the devastating power of the Atlantic Ocean.
The deaths of four Coast Guard helicopter crew Dara Fitzpatrick, Paul Ormsby, Mark Duffy and Ciar n Smith have reverberated across the country, but especially in those places that hug the coast. The distinctive orange and white Coast Guard choppers are a common and reassuring sight and the loss of Rescue 116 is felt sharply. This tragedy and that last summer of Caitr ona Lucas, a Coast Guard crew member based in Doolin, Co Clare highlights the precarious situations search and rescue volunteers can find themselves in. Although every precaution is taken, these men and women risk their lives in order to save others.
Nobody thinks about them until you need them yourself, says Ray Doyle, a bus driver from Mallow, Co Cork. I owe my life to the RNLI. I was just minutes from drowning when they saved me.
The 44-year-old father-of-four had been kayaking alone in the sea near the beach at Youghal last month when his craft capsized. I had been momentarily distracted and a small ripple toppled the kayak over, he says. I didn t have enough upper body strength to get back into it and when I tried to swim to shore, I seemed to keep getting pushed out to sea. The panic set in then and I started to roar and shout but nobody seemed to hear me. Luckily, his distress was spotted by a couple on the beach and the lifeboat was called. Just before they got to me, when I had no idea they were on the way, I had resigned myself to the thought that I was about to die. It was a strange feeling of calm, but the rescuers told me that that was a sign that my body had started to shut down. Such a rescue mission was about as simple as it gets for the RNLI the Royal National Lifeboat Institute but often such volunteers face very dangerous conditions whether it s on land or sea.
I d be lying if I told you I ve never felt fear, says one lifeboat volunteer, based on the south coast.
There have been times where we ve been out in really bad conditions and you re in a small boat looking out at enormous waves. You know you ve been very well trained, and you know you ve got great colleagues and the best equipment, but every now and again there s that feeling of what am I doing out here?
It s a conversation I ve had with others and they feel it too, especially those who have young children.
It s a bit like someone who s used to flying and has no fear of it but gets the jitters when they re caught up in bad turbulence. But the feeling evaporates when you have a successful mission and you know that you ll be out there again the next time.
RT s south-east correspondent Damien Tiernan has long been fascinated by those who work the sea and the brave volunteers who help keep them and us safe. His book, Souls of the Sea, written about a series of fishing tragedies that hit the Dunmore East community in January 2007, honoured both.
Often, you ll find that people who volunteer for lifeboats are either fishermen and women themselves or those who come from a fishing family. They have a deep connection to the sea and a huge respect for the water and they want to give something back, even if they ve no interest in fishing themselves.
There s a wonderful community of rescuers, too. They ll come from inland waterways to help on the coastline if they can and the Coast Guard helicopter is held in huge regard it s like a safety net. And it s not just coastal areas that rely on it, but mountainous regions too. Sometimes it s the only safe way to get an injured person safely down. The RNLI s lifesaving manager, Gareth Morrison, says those who give their time and expertise to search-and-rescue missions are a special breed. They re people who feel compelled to help others and who are willing to take calculated risks in order to save somebody else s life, he says. We get all kinds of people. But inside the lifeboat, everyone is equal and they work as a team. And that s the thing about rescue work it s never an individual pursuit; it s always about the strength of a team. When the RNLI was founded way back in 1824 its service was almost exclusively needed by fishermen and those whose profession revolved around the sea. Today, this charity and others like it are in high demand due to the huge increase in the recreational use of water.
And, yet, 50pc of the people we rescue had no intention of getting wet, Morrison says. By that I mean they could have been standing on a pier or walking the dog along the banks of a river and they fell in. Tragedy can happen so easily and unexpectedly.
It s a sentiment echoed by those who provide rescue services on land. No hillwalker sets off with the intention of getting injured and being unable to make contact with others, but it happens a lot.
The Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue service, to name but one of many that operate throughout the country, was called upon 66 times last year. Different challenges face those rescuers than their sea-going counterparts, but dangers are present too, particularly when visibility becomes poor as is often the case when mist descends, particularly on the west coast. This week, volunteers were continuing to search for the bodies of Rescue 116, and Damien Tiernan has seen at first-hand how heartbreaking it can be for families not to have a body to bury.
It can be really devastating, he says, and unfortunately some families who lose people to sea never get to have that closure.
Even 20 years on, you hear of people standing on the shoreline and looking out across the water and wondering where their loved ones are.
It’s not just the rescuer making a commitment, our families do, too
John Kavanagh (37), IT consultant and mountain rescuer, Dublin/Wicklow
The allure of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains were ever-present for John Kavanagh when he was growing up in Tallaght. Joining the Scouts at age seven introduced him to a world of nature far removed from the endless housing estates of west Dublin.
“As corny as it might sound,” he says, “being in the Scouts didn’t just give me a love of the great outdoors, it instilled the idea of being socially responsible, of helping other people.”
Joining a caving club at college proved to be the gateway to his work with Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue and his membership of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation. “It’s very gratifying because you know you’re involved in something that could save somebody’s life,” he says. Already this year he estimates he has been involved in a dozen search missions. “You’re on call all the time, even Christmas Day, and if you’re in a position to go out and help, you do that.”
He admits there is an element of danger, particularly when on the side of a mountain in inclement conditions, but he and his crew do everything they can to ensure their own safety. “We don’t put ourselves into situations where we are at risk of becoming another casualty. That wouldn’t help anybody.”
Usually, there’s a happy ending to mountain rescue missions, and a hillwalker, for instance, is safely located, uninjured. But sometimes, rescuers are confronted by death. “You do see traumatic incidents,” he says, “and we have policies in place to help anyone traumatised. You look out for each other as you would in any team.”
John Kavanagh believes a support network is crucial. “It’s not just us rescuers who make a commitment, but spouses, children, other family members, work colleagues who allow us the time to go away to do this and step into the breach.
“We couldn’t do it without them.”
Living in a small community often comes with the benefits of shorter commutes, knowing all of your neighbors, good support for local businesses and a lower crime rate. But Haydee Perez of Keene wanted bigger things when she graduated from Keene High School in 2004.
I saw Keene as a close-knit community, and as a small town it was nice to grow up there, she said. But when I went to college I realized how much more is out there. Perez said when she first graduated from high school she wanted to join the Marine Corps, but her parents didn t want her to join the military while she was so young.
So I went to college first at El Centro College, she said. Keene is so small and going to college was so different for me because it was a bigger atmosphere and there were so many people.
Perez said being in college gave her the desire to join the military even more.
I saw the military as an opportunity to do something different, to serve the country and see the world, she said. When I went to boot camp and went to [military] school, I instantly loved the camaraderie and friendship I have developed throughout my career.
Behind the badge
Originally when I went to [the Military Entry Processing Station] I wanted to be a corpsman but it wasn t available, she said. Another choice available to me was master-at-arms which is the military police. I always enjoyed the criminal justice field so I thought it would be a good opportunity to get in that field. I knew I could get qualified in weapons and learn how to stand watches. Master-at-arms provide waterborne and land security, aircraft and flight line security, strategic weapons and cargo security, maritime security and platform protection; conduct customs operations, corrections operations, detainee operations, and protective service operations; perform force protection, physical security and law enforcement; organize and train personnel in force protection, physical security, law enforcement, and weapons proficiency; develop plans for physical security and force protection enhancement of Navy bases, installations, property, and personnel; and assist commands in conducting terrorist threat analysis and implementing defensive measures.
I am able to do brig runs and deal with the brig on the ship as well as on shore, she said. To me, it s exciting. The feeling of being able to put someone away who did something wrong or can t follow rules or regulations is exhilarating. While aboard her first ship, Perez had a small accident that put her on shore duty.
I was on the USS Carl Vinson a Nimitz-class supercarrier for a year, by then she said. I fractured my foot on the ship and had to have surgery on it.
Best that she can be
Being transferred to shore duty, however, was rewarding. While serving at Navy Medicine Training Support Center in San Antonio, Perez was part of the Petty Officer Association and helped host events to boost command morale. In 2014, Perez was part of an effort to ease the pain for about 300 Navy, Army and Air Force students who were not able to make it home for the holidays by taking them on a trip to Sea World.
A lot of the students didn t have the money to go home, and some are so close to graduation they couldn t take leave now and have leave for after they graduate, she said. So we hosted these events to keep them busy and allow them the opportunity to interact outside of the classroom.
In 2015, Perez planned and organized an event with mostly student volunteers to paint over graffiti at a local park as part of Fiesta San Antonio.
The graffiti wipeout was on the Fiesta calendar [the year before] but wasn t [that] year, so I decided to organize one, she said. I really wanted to get it back on there so we can get involved in the community somehow, especially for the students. Chief Master-at-Arms Matthew Levell worked with Perez at NMTSC for about a year.
I could never say enough good things about her, he said. As a single mother, she took care of her kids and juggled work and did it fabulously. One of the biggest rates in the Navy is the hospital corpsman so there were about 3,000 students here. Between her and two other sailors, they took care of everything. She was so awesome.
Committed to the job
Perez is now serving at Naval Medical Center San Diego, where the hospital s priority is to provide the safest, highest quality patient-centered medical care for veterans, service members and their families.
I work with the senior officers in the chain of command and having direct interaction with leadership has been very positive, she said. Perez said she feels honored to be able to serve at a hospital that is continually raising the bar in health care.
I enjoy working with the medical community, she said. They care about their sailors and advancement. It has given me a good view into the community and helped me decided that I would like to go into the nursing field.
Perez said those who serve in Navy medicine understand that they play a key role in meeting the missions of the armed forces. Keeping busy is what Perez does best.
I don t know how I am doing it all because I have two kids Penelope and Juliano, she said. I go to work and when I get home I do some online courses. But, I have had a lot of help from friends and family. One person who helps her out is her sister, Daniella Robles.
She is very involved in her command and tries to find time to do everything, she said. I served in the Navy aboard the USS Stennis, but we weren t ever anywhere near each other. It was like two different worlds, even though we were both in the Navy. But, depending on what she wants to do, I think she will take a lot of what she learned in the military with her wherever she goes. In her job as a master-at-arms, she has learned a good work ethic.
Perez said she would like to transition from enlisted to officer, so she is working on a package to submit to her command.
I am also graduating this year with my bachelor s in criminal justice with a concentration in criminal investigations from the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, she said. If becoming an officer isn t part of the plan for me, then I d like to move back home to Keene to work in law enforcement. Perez said she always recommends people join the military because of the benefits they can receive.
The military is a great opportunity if they are thinking about going to school and don t want to go into debt, she said. For those who are in small towns like Keene, it is also a great opportunity to get out and learn about leadership, teamwork and to see something different. I love what the Navy has done for me and my family. I love being able to serve and travel. The military in general has a lot of benefits for everyone. Even though there are 322,809 active duty sailors, Perez said being in the Navy is almost like being in Keene.
We are a close-knit community and there are always opportunity for adventure, she said.