Carol McGiffin, 58, describes the last time she saw ‘Loose Women’ co-panellist Lynda Bellingham, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 66.
She reveals this in conversation with Kate Thornton, as part of the podcast ‘White Wine Question Time’, produced by Kate Thornton in association with Yahoo.
Carol and Lynda regularly appeared beside one another on the ‘Loose Women’ panel between 2007 and 2011, and were still close when Bellingham was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2013.
By 2014, Lynda was told her cancer had spread to her lungs and liver and that she had “months to live”. However, by this point, Carol had been diagnosed with cancer, too, which she had hidden from her friend because she didn’t want to worry her.
Kate offers her own poignant account of the day, where her, Carol, and fellow guest, ‘Loose Women’ co-panellist Lisa Maxwell visited Lynda.
“I thought that was a tough day for you [Carol] particularly. We all went to see Lynda Bellingham who was a cast member and a friend. But a friend first and foremost.
“But we knew we were saying goodbye to her that day. We all knew that was the last time that we would spend time with Lynda. She was really poorly.”
“And you [Carol] also had cancer at that point.”
“Yeah, quite far in. And she didn’t know. And we all agreed, didn’t we? We had a chat about it before and we said let’s not tell her,” Carol responds. “We don’t want her to get any more upset, and burden her with any more worry.”
However, the friends could not keep the secret from Lynda, and went on to tell her later that day.
“She went: ‘Aaah, f***ing hell: not you and all.’ And I went: ‘This is a wig!’ and she said ‘No way!’. When I look back at those pictures, you can so see it’s a wig. I look like that guy from Wayne’s World – Garth,” says Carol.
Lisa also offers an account of Lynda’s defiant spirit during her last day.
“[Lynda] was also in a really good place when we met her. She was on so much form,” she says.
“She had a massive jeroboam of champagne [a three litre bottle] ready for everybody and she said, ‘Come on, we’re going to have a good time’”
Kate adds: “To give context, Lynda had given up drinking when we were on Loose Women so when we would rock up to work with a variety of hangovers and she was the booze police. ‘Ew, smoking, it’s terrible. I gave it up!'”
“And then towards her final days, she started drinking again, we were sat round her kitchen table smoking and drinking… And that day – I’ll never forget that day – we had the most wonderful afternoon. Talking, laughing…”
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