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BBC NI's Cecilia Daly: It was tough losing Dad, but I hold on to special memories of our time together in his final days

Sunny disposition: BBC NI weather forecaster Cecilia Daly
Sunny disposition: BBC NI weather forecaster Cecilia Daly
With partner Simon and their dog Pedro
On the job: Cecilia Daly in the studio
Rachel Dean

By Rachel Dean

Rachel Dean talks to BBC NI weather forecaster Cecilia Daly, who lives in Ballyhackamore with her partner Simon Flanagan, their dog Pedro and cat Max.

Q Tell us about your childhood.

A I was born in east Belfast but I grew up in Lisburn with my daddy Sean, who was a school teacher, my mum Molly and my brother and sister. I am the eldest. I went to Rathmore Grammar School in south Belfast where maths and physics were my favourite subjects.

I eventually went on to study both at Reading University, but I got a little bit bored and decided to drop out when I saw a job advertised for a trainee weather forecaster in the Met Office, which was close by.

I remember ringing my mum to tell her I wanted to leave university and she said there was no way I was coming home to lie on the sofa and do nothing!

But I applied for the job anyway and got it. I was able to get my meteorology qualifications at the same time. It wasn't my original career plan, but once I got into it, I really loved it.

Q What are you most proud of?

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A I have run in two half-marathons and I am taking part in the Belfast half-marathon again this year. I love running as it's nice to get outside and see what's going on around you.

Also, I set myself a target a couple of years ago - I wanted a six pack - and I did it. It was tough work and is no way sustainable, but I do have the photos to prove that I did it.

Q The one regret you wish you could amend?

AI still haven't managed a sub two-hour half-marathon, but hopefully this is the year to break that barrier.

Q Have you any phobias?

A I am not keen on heights - especially ladders - and like to have solid ground beneath me.

Q The temptation you cannot resist?

A Chocolate and nuts. It's even better when they're together.

Q Your number one prized possession?

A A pair of designer heels. I bought these after working a long string of shifts in London and I decided to treat myself. It was like a scene from Pretty Woman.

I walked up to the shop in shorts and flip flops as it was a very warm day and I was looked up and down by two very prim and proper guys. Of course I had to show them and so I ended up buying one of the most expensive pair of shoes in the shop. I nearly fainted at the price but I couldn't back down and I just hoped and prayed that my credit card didn't melt.

I left the shop with my purchase and spent the next few hours trying to justify the outrageous spend.

Q The book that's most impacted your life?

A I'm not a big book reader these days, but I do love the Style supplement in the Sunday Times newspaper which my mummy keeps for me every week. I love clothes shopping and I am always thinking of new ways to put things together from what I already have or what I might need to buy to complete an outfit and make it on point.

Q If you had the power or authority, what would you do?

A I would make more places around the world dog friendly and not just for the little dogs, for all sizes. I would also pass a law that means dog owners need to pass a probationary period to show they are responsible owners.

Q What makes your blood boil every time without fail?

A Cruelty to animals - especially if I see a dog left in a car with no window open on a warm day. Some people must not realise how quickly the inside of a car can heat up and because dogs can't sweat like humans, they are unable to cool down.

Q Who has most influenced you in life?

A There have been different people at different times. In recent years my friend, colleague and former running partner sticks out.

I won't name her but we used to have great chats on our runs on numerous subjects and she helped me through a few tough times with both my career and in my personal life.

Q Your top three dinner party guests, dead or alive, and why?

A First I would ask Audrey Hepburn because I adore her style and would love to have lived in the Breakfast at Tiffany's era. Then I would ask James Martin because he is funny, cute and can cook.

And of course I'd have my partner Simon Flanagan there because we both love good food and a nice vino.

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With partner Simon and their dog Pedro

Q The best piece of advice you ever received?

A You can only do your best and it is okay to say no. This is something my mother would have said to me when I was worried or anxious about things.

Q The unlikely interest or hobby that you love?

A Weight lifting - I can dead lift 2.5 times my own body weight from the ground.

Simon calls me a mini Hercules and it's all thanks to my friend Ross.

Q The poem that touches your heart?

A If by Rudyard Kipling, I heard it recently at a funeral and it came at the end of a wonderful and very moving eulogy and I thought it was simply beautiful.

Q The happiest moment of your life?

A There are so many and they mostly involve my little family - my partner Simon, Pedro my gorgeous fur baby and Max the cat. We love going to the north coast, taking a stroll on the beach and then getting a lovely dinner at one of the many fabulous restaurants that are now available along there.

Q And the saddest?

A Probably the day of my father Sean's funeral. We lost him to heart failure when he was 82.

We cared for him at home and it was too much for my mummy on her own, so we took it in turns to spend the night with him.

It was very tough, losing daddy, but I hold on to special memories of my time with him in his final months.

Q The one event that made a difference in your life?

A Joining the BBC. I have always loved weather, and broadcasting is something I have adored from day one. I am so lucky to do a job I love and get paid for it.

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On the job: Cecilia Daly in the studio

Q What's the ambition that drives you onward?

A Life is about making memories, good and bad. Don't have regrets and take every opportunity that comes your way and also, if you don't try something once, you will never know where it might lead to.

Q What's the philosophy you live by?

A A little bit of everything does you no harm.

Q How do you want to be remembered?

A I'm not a great timekeeper and have been told that I will have two quotes on my headstone 'I need to get a wriggle on' and 'it was tough but good'. This is something I nearly always say after a gym session!

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