Belfast Telegraph

Sheepish Vernon Kay's first outing with Tess Daly after sex text shame

Celebrity couple Vernon Kay and Tess Daly made their first official appearance together since his texting controversy as they hosted a Prince's Trust award ceremony.

The All Star Family Fortunes presenter shared a podium with his wife, Strictly Come Dancing host Daly, as the achievements of young people who have turned their lives around were celebrated last night.

Kay, who has two young daughters with his partner, has admitted sending explicit text messages to around five women. He told the listeners of his Radio 1 show last month he had been "foolish and stupid".

The couple, who are both Prince's Trust ambassadors, looked relaxed as they introduced the seven award categories and the celebrity guests who announced the nominees.

Daly described those put forward for the honours as "real heroes" and stood with her husband throughout the Prince's Trust Celebrate Success awards staged at the Odeon cinema in London's Leicester Square.

At the start of the ceremony, attended by a host of stars including Sir Michael Caine, Bond girl Gemma Arterton and comedian Michael McIntyre, Kay told the audience: "We are so very excited to be here with you all today, it's such a treat to have an afternoon out."

But during the event no reference was made to the texting controversy.

During his Radio 1 apology, Kay did not refer to the texts but said he had "disappointed and let down a lot of people", adding: "To my family and everybody else, I am very sorry."

The Prince of Wales, the trust's founder and president, praised all those involved in his charity during a speech to the audience, which also included Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans.

He said: "All these young people's lives that have been turned around could simply not have been turned around without the inspiration, motivation and direction shown by all those members of our staff all over the country.

"These are the people who have given people that sense of self-belief and self-worth."

After the ceremony, the Prince also met some of the key people from his trust, including the award ceremony's hosts.

During the brief chat, Charles asked about Daly's BBC show and she told him: "We will teach you the tango, Sir."

The award winners included reformed addict Karen McLaughlin, 26, who received a standing ovation from the 1,500-strong audience when she was named Young Achiever of the Year.

Her life went on a downward spiral of drugs at the age of 11, beginning with cannabis, escalating to amphetamines and eventually heroin.

A 12-week development course with the trust helped her get her life back on track.

She has now written a paper on substance misuse for Sunderland City Council and is a Young Ambassador for the trust.

Miss McLaughlin, who is hoping to become a substance abuse mentor, received her award from Sir Michael.

The veteran actor said afterwards: "Karen's experiences have moved and humbled me. She has faced a difficult life, but she has not only overcome her own issues - she is also committed to helping other young people avoid a similar fate."

Miss McLaughlin, from Hebburn near South Shields in Tyneside, was delighted by the award and almost as pleased to meet one of her heroes, trust ambassador and former Newcastle and Manchester United footballer Andy Cole.

She said: "I still can't believe I was nominated, let alone won - it's absolutely brilliant and I've had the chance to meet all these people as well.

"The last time I saw Andy Cole he was coming on to the pitch at Newcastle in a black and white top."

Daly and Kay also introduced award-winner Mark Livsey, 30, who set up his own parcel delivery business in the face of muscular dystrophy, a condition he developed aged 18.

He felt his immobility affected his job opportunities, which led to low self-esteem and emotional problems, but he was supported into self-employment by the trust's business programme.

England football hero Cole, who presented him with the RBS Enterprise Award, said: "Mark's triumph today should be an example to us all.

"I take my hat off to all the winners, all of them in one way or another have gone off the rails or had problems, but they have managed to get themselves back on the rails, which is a fantastic testament to their character."

Belfast Telegraph


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