CHERYL GIBBS: Running for Hollie – I’m so proud of my family

Running for Hollie: from left, Cheryl's husband Matt Kingston,
Shaun Nichols,
Steve Grant, 
Del Button and 
Hollie
Running for Hollie: from left, Cheryl's husband Matt Kingston, Shaun Nichols, Steve Grant, Del Button and Hollie

The statistics that mask continuing real hardship

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It was an emotional day for everyone. But for one little girl – my beautiful niece Hollie, it was the show of support and strength that made this year’s Great South Run.

Hollie’s dad Steve Grant, my brother-in-law Shaun Nichols, our close family friend Del Button and my husband Matt Kingston all took part in the Great South Run raising much-needed funds and awareness for Alopecia UK.

This is a condition that causes hair loss and something that has affected Hollie since she was two.

All the boys had been training hard for the run, not least of all her dad Steve who worked incredibly hard to ensure he would cross the finishing line.

And they did – they all did and we were all there – Hollie included – to watch them as they crossed the line.

I was so incredibly proud of our city – it was such a marvellous event to be part of, even from a spectator’s perspective.

At the half way point we stopped on the side of the road to watch our lads run past. We had downloaded a tracker on their bibs which showed us where they were in the race and how they were doing. Technology really can be amazing and it was incredible for us to watch on the sidelines as they ran past, willing them on to make it to the end.

There was so much support and love in the air. That may sound corny, like something from a Hallmark card, but it honestly was like that.

People turned up in their thousands to show their support, cheer others on and high-five the runners.

Entertainment, music and dancers throughout the course kept the runners going and motivated and, according to the lads, it really did help them keep going.

And between them they’ve raised well in excess of £2,000, so I’m thrilled for them. They all worked so hard and really did show their love and support for Hollie – as did every single person who took part. Each and every one of them had a story, a reason to be there and a cause to raise cash for. What an event to be part of.

Perhaps next year, it will be my turn to take part...

HARRY ENGAGEMENT WOULD BRING ROYAL FAMILY INTO 21ST CENTURY

An engagement announcement is imminent. You mark my words.

I’ll be surprised if it’s not confirmed very soon that Prince Harry and his Hollywood actress girlfriend Meghan Markle are going to tie the knot.

Word on the royal streets is that Harry took Meghan to tea with the Queen last week – something that only usually happens when things are serious and about to change in one’s relationship.

I for one will be thrilled, not least because I love a good old love story, but also because it marks a significant step in the royal family.

You see Meghan is a divorcee, of mixed race and is an actress in a famous US drama Suits – not exactly the stereotype for the royal family. But I think that’s marvellous news and another way the royal family is redefining itself for the 21st century.

IT’S HARD LIFE, BUT SOMEBODY’S GOT TO DO IT

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since I wrote last week’ column.

I popped back to UK after spending five days in the beautiful Cannes sunshine attending the international TV festival Mipcom. It was such an experience and I loved every single second of it.

Don’t get me wrong, the event was a blast and very worthwhile from a work perspective, but I was just blown away by the destination itself. Beautiful, lush white sandy beaches fringed the coast, which is dotted with restaurants and bars, boutiques and designer shops.

It genuinely was fab and the fact it reached 30C some days naturally helped.

It was just 90 minutes on the plane from London yet I felt I was a million miles away and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a short-haul break.

Now I’m in Mexico, so it really has been quite the few weeks!