Pride of Britain host Carol Vorderman: I'm scared I could die on on my solo round

She’s left Loose Women and plans to quit all her TV presenting work in the run-up to a record-breaking bid to fly solo around the world. But despite scaling back all her roles, Carol Vorderman is still looking forward to hosting the Pride of Britain awards for the 16th time this year. Carole’s commitment to this unique celebration of unsung heroes doesn’t end there. She’s so keen to be a part of next year’s event she’s planning her daredevil mission around the start of the 2015 judging process. “I have to be back in time for the judging of Pride of Britain in late August or go after the awards ceremony in October,” she explains. “The choice will be all about my flying training, which is rigorous for the next nine months. I have to be good to go.” Sky high: Carol Vorderman (Image: PA) “My daughter Katie graduates with a Masters degree in June so I might start the solo flight in July, which gives me eight weeks to fly around the world – and I’m not joking about that. “That really is the timing of it all, which is why I’m knocking all the telly work on the head after Christmas because with my flying I now really have to get to the next level and beyond. “I’ve started learning to fly in cloud, which is scary. On a flight, if things go wrong they go wrong quickly and badly, and that’s when nasty accidents happen. And over the next two months I have to set my route as well, which at some point means me either flying over Russia or the Middle East. So there’s a lot to consider. “I have thought about the fact that I may not come back, but I don’t dwell on it. There are other people who have done it after all. “If I’m not back from my solo flight by the end of August, well, I might be doing the judging via a satellite phone in the plane.” The judging process for the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards, sponsored by Lidl, is always difficult, and this year Carol says it has been tougher than ever. The

glittering ceremony is at the Grosvenor House on Park Lane in London next Monday, with royalty, senior politicians and more than 100 of our biggest celebrities taking part. These range from Prince Charles and

PM David Cameron to Simon Cowell, Jamie Oliver, Jeremy Piven, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Stephen Fry, McBusted and The Script. It will be screened on ITV the following night. Stars: McBusted (Image: Getty) The evening should be filled with moving moments and more than a few laughs, just like last year’s glittering bash. “There were certainly some stand-out moments” says Carol of the 2013 awards. “I loved it when David Walliams came out on stage wearing matching outfits with the 92-year-old bee lady Jean Bishop, who was named Fundraiser of the year after raking in 92,000 over 14 years. It was like a Little Britain sketch. “And then there is nine-year-old Child of Courage Harley Lane who had to have his arms and legs amputa2020管家婆彩图大全63 ted after being struck down with meningitis. “He was offered a kiss from Nicole Scherzinger for his bravery after he fought back from the brink of death – and of course he turned her down. Hilarious. “But the one which really got to me was Lance Corporal Matthew Wilson of 2nd Battalion The Rifles, who received the Military Special Recognition award. He carried on fighting after being sho

t in the head while serving in Afghanistan – and he was only 21 at the time.” Award: Lance Corporal Matthew Wilso

n is presented with the Special Recognition Award by Michael McIntyre and Katherine Jenkins (Image: Rowan Griffiths) But as emotional as the Pri

de of Britain ceremony gets for everyone involved, you’re unlikely to see Carol crying. “I always get a lump in my throat during the judging and I’ve had to nip into the wings sometimes for the odd teary moment,” she says. “But if you cry it becomes all about the presenter and it can not ever be about the presenter. People have said to me, ‘Oh you never cry!’ but as I explain to the award recipients: ‘I’m the rock that’s there for you.’ That’s my job, to make the winners feel as comfortable as possible and allow them to shine.” Hosting the Pride of Britain Awards is one of just a handful of TV commitments which Carol is hanging on to as she gets ready for her round-the-world flight. Leaving her job as part-time host of Loose Women this summer was just the start as she prioritises her workload and enters a new chapter in her life. Proud: Carol with Harley Lane (Image: Pete Mariner) Over the past 32 years Carol has juggled being a mother of two with her TV work, which famously began as the maths whizz on quiz show Countdown from 1982 to 2008. But now daughter Katie is 22 and her son Cameron, turns 18 in February. And after dreaming of learning how to fly a plane all her life, she has finally made it come true. She says all of these commitents were difficult to maintain while she was constantly travelling between her Bristol home and the London studios where Loose Women is filmed. Carol, who joined the show three years ago, adds: “I’ve lived in Bristol for a very long time so at the start I found I was more or less staying in a hotel in London three or four nights a week, doing three days per week on average on screen. Last year

I even tried just doing one day instead of three, but even then it ended up being more than one day because of the travelling involved. “My departure is all very friendly. I’ve been told there’s always a seat for me if I want to go back and guest-present or something like that, which is very kind of them.” Loose women: Carol Vorderman (Image: ITV) Like some of

her fellow Loose Women panellists, Carole, now 53, has a much younger boyfriend. Graham “Duffy” Duff, a squadron leader in the RAF and the man in her life for the last two years is 14 years her junior. “I don’t know whether sitting in the Loose Women seat does it,” she says, laughing. “But Lisa Maxwell is older than her husband Paul, Denise Welch is older than her fella Lincoln, and, of course, there’s Carole McGiffin, who’s 22 years older than her lovely bloke, Mark.” But does she like being t

hought of as a cougar? “That’s not my nature,” says Carol. “If people want to use that term that’s fine. But I think there are a lot of guys in their late 30s early 40s who are just in a place where they quite like the company of older women – and I also know they don’t think of you as older.” Happy: Carol Vorderman and Graham

Duff (Image: Tim Anderson / Daily Mirror) The presenter, who was married for a year to Royal Navy officer Christopher Mather in 198

5 and management consultant Patrick King from 1990, believes more women now choose men on the basis of what they want rather than what society dictates they need. “I think women just fe

el much more confident”, she says. “There are an awful lot of women who are quite happy by themselves. If I were by myself in the future, I’d be quite happy because there’s enough going on in my life to fulfill me. My mum is now 86 but she was a bit of a quiet rebel in her day because she separated from my stepfather when she was in her early 50s. Then she decided she didn’t want to be with anyone else again and she says it’s been the best time of her life since then. “I think that when you get into your 50s, particularly if your children are older, you just know who you are. You know what you like doing and you know what you’re not going bother with again.” Carol admits she is now having the time of her life in her 50s. She says: “You see women now who are much older and they make you think, ‘Wow!’ because they are just women. They are a huge inspiration to those who are younger – Shirley Bassey, Joan Collins, Honor Blackman. “I was at writer Jilly Cooper’s house recently and there she was in a leopard-print dress throwing a marvellous party and she’s 77. “Do I still wanting to be having a good time wearing leopard-print dresses in 25 years time? “Too right I do, and I want to be wearing leopard-print dresses while flying in my plane too. “The problem is that the central control column gets in the way. Maybe culottes are the answer...” Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will start in8CancelPlay now Pride of Britain will be shown on ITV on Tuesday night.