Belfast Telegraph

Caron would have been so proud, says Gloria OBE

By Adrian Rutherford

Gloria Hunniford believes her late daughter Caron Keating would have been "so proud" of her for receiving an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The Portadown-born broadcaster is recognised for services to cancer charities.

In 2004 she lost Caron, who was also a TV presenter, to breast cancer, just hours after the 41-year-old was brought home for the last time to see her family.

Gloria (77) and her sons Paul and Michael set up the Caron Keating Foundation in her memory, which has raised millions for charity.

Reacting to news of her honour, she told the Belfast Telegraph: "I can't tell you how thrilled I am - not just for me but for the whole family.

"My two sons are over the moon about the whole thing, very proud of it, and I know Caron would have been so proud of it as well, and of course my husband Stephen."

A familiar face on our TV screens, Gloria has spent 70 years in showbusiness. She began her career aged seven, as a singer alongside her father who worked in advertising but also performed as a magician. In the early years of her career she worked on local programmes Good Evening Ulster and Sunday, Sunday, before going to London to work on We Love TV and Open House With Gloria Hunniford.

Since then she has been a continuous presence in living rooms around the country, on shows including Loose Women, This Morning, Rip Off Britain, Home Away From Home and Food: Truth Or Scare.

But it is her services to cancer charities through breast screening services and cancer support that have earned the broadcaster an OBE.

She said the honour came as a complete shock.

"It was a big surprise because I never really knew how these things worked," she added.

"I do believe that mine has come through work that I have done with Action Cancer in Belfast. I've supported the Big Bus campaign (its mobile resource centre) for a long time."

She told her two sons the news only a fortnight ago. "I didn't tell them for a while because I didn't know how long it would have to be kept a secret," she explained.

"A couple of weeks ago I was with the two of them on my own, and it is rare that we are all together, and I thought it was a good time to tell them.

"They couldn't believe it. Their reaction was lovely."

The accolade recognises her tireless work with the Caron Keating Foundation, which gives grants to all types of cancer charities in the UK.

These are used to finance professional carers, support groups and counselling services, helping to fund pieces of machinery for faster detection, drivers to take cancer patients to and from treatment centres, and complementary therapies to help with pain control.

Gloria serves as the administrator of the foundation.

She believes it has raised millions of pounds over the past decade.

"We are a family, a table top-run kitchen organisation, so we don't set out to raise millions, but I reckon we've raised between £5m and £6m to date," she added.

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